Ancient ceramic tomb sculptures from West Mexico were made to ease the transition to the afterlife and attested to the status of the deceased. Typically they were buried with other offerings alongside the finely dressed corpse in a shaft-and-chamber type tomb. This acrobat posed in a backbend might have been placed in a tomb to entertain the deceased in the afterlife.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.