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Extremely Rare Chavin Bone / Turquoise Jaguar Claw

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Lot 0109 Details

Description
Pre-Columbian, North Coast Peru, Chavin, ca. 1400 to 400 BCE. A jaguar claw, hand-carved from a human elbow bone with striking (no pun intended) pointy turquoise claws of brilliant aqua hues and a painstakingly carved, double-headed serpent design around the wrist. Incredibly rare, replete with the utmost technique and artistry. Custom, museum-quality stand. Size: 1.75" W x 2.125" H (4.4 cm x 5.4 cm)

The iconography of this piece connotes layers of symbolism. Jaguar imagery symbolized power and might throughout the Pre-Columbian world. Warriors, rulers, hunters, and shamans alike associated themselves with this king of beasts, the largest and most powerful feline in the New World. The bicephalic serpent or dragon was a signifier of high rank in various Pre-Columbian world views. These two-headed beasts were regarded as sky bands that arched over the earth or surrounded the seas serving as a passageway for the planets and stars of the celestial realm. This motif decorated objects associated with individuals of high rank, thus associating them with the powers of this mighty creature. Beyond this, even the singular serpent is a fascinating element of Pre-Columbian iconography as it was regarded to be a beneficial source of nourishment and at the same time quite deadly with its poisonous venom. Also important to the indigenous was the fact that snakes shed their skin annually thus rejuvenating themselves and serving as symbols of renewal and good health.

Provenance: Ex-Private Long Beach, CA collection

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#118759
Condition
Small losses to tips of two leftmost turquoise claws. Nick to bone near right side of claw. A few stable surface fissures as shown.
Buyer's Premium
  • 24.5%

Extremely Rare Chavin Bone / Turquoise Jaguar Claw

Estimate $2,500 - $3,500Jan 19, 2017
Starting Price $1,200
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