Join Ángel Gonzalez, GlaxoSmithKline Curatorial Research Fellow, on this video visit with a curator. Mesoamerican societies—for whom dogs were allies in life and death—placed dogs in tombs because they were considered guides to the underworld, which was a journey with dangerous trials. One of these challenges was crossing a river, and only a dog could help you reach the other side. The animal most frequently depicted in Colima art is the Mexican hairless dog, known as Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-eats-queen-tlee) by the Aztecs of the 15th century. In West Mexico, where the NCMA’s Dog Effigy came from, mourners placed ceramic guide dogs in tombs because they were considered proper company for the dead.