Coyote Throne
900-1300 CE
27" x 42" x 18"
Sculpture, Black basalt
Region: Michoacan
Culture: Tarascan Culture
Carved from a remarkable and unbroken single piece of stone, this playful-looking canine is seen displaying a myriad of typical Tarascan features: a short and stocky tail, near-perfectly flat back, small upright ears, upward-facing eyes, and teeth and tongue exposed for all to see and fear. Four thick legs are bent underneath to provide support to the shaman. Carved from brown-gray basalt, this shaman's throne is the result of meticulous craftsmanship and countless hours of patient stonework. The single, unbroken piece of stone is symbolic because the seat of a shaman represents the desire to maintain cohesion between his people and and the gods, as well as his geo-political relationships with neighboring city-states. This particular style of coyote is indicative of work from the Patzcuaro Lake region of southern Mexico near present-day Michoacan, and similar examples have been found in the Ihuatzio archaeological site (literally translating to "place of the coyotes"). A similar example is found in the Museo Regional de Michoacan, Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico, and at the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Barcelona, Spain.