Pre-Columbian, Central Coast Peru, Huari / Wari, ca. 700 to 1000 CE. A hand-carved wooden spoon and palette, the palette featuring a rectangular depression used for the preparation of hallucinogenic substances, and a finely carved bird effigy handle, nicely detailed with incised wings, a curved beak, and inlaid white shell eyes with drilled pupils. The use of psychotropic substances was rather common in Pre-Columbian societies. Shamans used hallucinogenic cactii, plants, and mushrooms in order to induce altered states of consciousness during religious ceremonies and healing rituals - a tradition which modern-day shamans continue. The iconographic content of this piece adds to its symbolic value, as birds were regarded as sky animals in the ancient Americas, usually associated with the sun, the moon, Venus, and/or other entities of the celestial realm, where they acted as sacred messengers between humankind and its deities. In addition, each of the thirteen celestial deities had corresponding winged disguises - all birds except for the butterfly. A wonderful example of material culture from this ancient Peruvian culture. Custom stand. Size: palette itself measures 7.5" L x 3.25" W (19 cm x 8.3 cm); spoon measures 8" L (20.3 cm); ensemble measures 5" W x 8.5" H (12.7 cm x 21.6 cm) on stand.
The Huari/Wari culture began to develop during the late Moche era. This culture, centered on a capital to the south of Moche territory in the central highlands of Peru, rose as the Moche culture fell apart and before the Chimu asserted themselves on the north coast. They had extensive contact with other regions in the Andes, most notably the Tiahuanaco in present-day Bolivia, and the Nazca and the Pachacamac on the south and central coast of Peru. Hence there is no homogenous Huari style. Instead we see a wide range of visual expressions in their wood carvings and ceramics.
Provenance: Ex-Hawaiian collection
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