House Model

For my Latin American art history class I had to choose a work of art and write a two page description, three page analysis, and draw the work myself. It had to be pre-Columbian, colonial, or modern and I choose pre-Columbian. The piece of work I choose to study is called House Model.

I don’t draw that much so I went with a very simple drawing of this sculpture in watercolor and ink:

This ceramic-sculpture called House Model was made from an unknown artist between 100 B.C. – A.D. 200. It comes from the Nayarit culture in Nayarit, Mexico. House Model illustrated a complex feast with twenty-six figures. The artist communicated this narrative by incorporating small representations of food and animals that the figures interacted with during this feast.

I choose this work of art because of how different it was. We didn’t study anything like this in class so it was a completely new subject. Specifically, in the Nayarit culture, there models, like House Model, would show everyday life by representing a huge feast. This feast symbolizes a death in the community, usually a leader. Therefore, they would have a feast to unite the people, recognize their leader’s loss, and celebrate the new ruler to come. They also buried their dead under their houses, so the lower rooms of the house have been identified as tombs. This can be seen on the first floor of House Model.

All these symbol and representations connect the living and the dead, and help people today understand their culture.


Photos courtesy of: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (

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