The tradition of making female ceramic figurines appeared in Mesoamerica around 1500 AD, in the first agricultural villages and declined at the start of our era, with the rise of more complex and theocratic societies, such as Teotihuacán and Maya.

The oldest figurines are from Tlatilco, in the Mexican high plains, followed by the Chupícuaro, in Mesoamericas’s far north. In the southern lowlands, the female figurines sculpted in the Providencia style are larger, jointed and more naturalistic. This latter trait would appear in the figurines of their successors, the Maya.

The figurines represent women with intricate headdresses, short skirts and body paint. Their wide hips, breasts and prominent vulva display their feminine condition, as well as, their obvious fertility. Each one is different, as if inspired by an individual model. They could have been female deities, or simply, women who were worshipped as sources of fertility in association with agricultural cycles.