Pre-Columbian, Peru, Inca, ca. 1000 to 1500 CE. Three finely hand built, slipped, and burnished highly decorated plates of identical designs featuring central registers containing striations and x-shaped motifs that terminate in twin, double lug handles, giving the appearance of double-headed serpents, as well as a border of intersecting chevrons and striations, all hand-painted in russet red, black, and beige slip. Custom stand. Size: 5.125" W (13 cm) handle to handle; 16.5" W x 6" H (41.9 cm x 15.2 cm) on stand
Similar plates have been found in child burial sites associated with the capacocha, a sacrificial rite involving children selected for their beauty, in Cusco Valley of Peru. Excavations at Choquepukio in 2004 revealed seven children who had been buried together with elite artifacts worthy of their high status, including decorated plates just like these. (Journal of Archaeological Science 38 (2): 323-333, February 2011.
Upon the death of an Inca king, Capacocha took place. This ritual was used to incorporate new territory into the rapidly expanding Inca empire. Local lords selected unblemished children who represented the human ideal to Cusco. These children were then married and presented with miniature human and llama figurines made of precious metals and sometimes shell. Next, the children and their offerings returned to their original communities. There they were ceremoniously honored before being sacrificed to the mountain gods.
Provenance: Ex-private Atlanta, GA collection.
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