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Representations of animals were very common in West Mexico's shaft tombs. These realistic renderings of the local fauna most probably served two purposes: a symbolic one that was tied to the particular animal represented and a practical one, as most (if not all) of them doubled as vessels that most probably contained foodstuffs and offerings to accompany the deceased in their journey into the Otherworld.

Clay vessel in the form of an opposum
West Mexico
Late Pre-Classic to Early Classic (200 B.C.-150 A.D.)
State of Colima
Red clay
19 x 21.2 cm.
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.

Photo © Jorge Pérez de Lara