As this may be the last entry for my Primer of New Spain, before the Alphabet Soup deadline of the end of November, I thought I would base the character upon my favorite beastie.
To the Maya and to the Aztec dogs were, in addition to a foodstuff (gruesome I know), believed to be excellent guides to their owners in the treacherous Underworld. Apparently they were particularly adept as crossing bodies of water. As the Mesoamerican dog was bred to be hairless I suppose that makes some sense.
My own pup, and model for this image is a modern day chihuahua, quite hairy and slightly chubby ;a delightful and I think quite handsome fellow. His name is Speck and he hates the water. I would however be thrilled beyond belief if Speck was waiting for me in Charon’s barge.
Dogs may have been excellent guides in the Underworld, but in the studio my little fellow was a reluctant model, refusing to hold a pose for very long.
Here is the superstar, posing on his own terms.
According to tradition, the dog when imagined as a guide to the Underworld , would be depicted wearing a mask. It is a particularly fascinating stylization, well suited to my interest in symbolism and dreamscapes.
The following is a local treasure from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), I am particularly fond of it.
It seemed fitting that if my little Speck was stuck in the Underworld that he could at least have a jolly time playing fetch with all of the bones lying about. For his unearthly companion I once again made use of my handy demon maquette.
I will continue with the Primer, perhaps relaxing the color restriction a bit, perhaps not.
Well that is all for now,
until next time,