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The ancient village of Tlatilco once stood not far from the shores of the great lake that once filled much of the Valley of Mexico. The fish motif of this charming piece might be explained by this proximity. Whether the vessel was intended for everyday use or whether its purpose was more specialized (i.e., ritual usage) is a question still debated.

Fish-shaped vessel
Central Mexican Pre-Classic
Middle Pre-Classic (800-400 B.C.)
Tlatilco, State of Mexico
Clay with a burnished black finish
12.8 x 11.5 cm.
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.

Photo © Jorge Pérez de Lara