Pre-Columbian, Northwest Mexico, Casas Grandes, Ramos, ca. 1150 to 1300 CE. A larve polychrome olla, most likely a vessel for food or water storage, decorated with red and black geometric and curvilinear designs against an ecru/buff ground, including stepped patterns, bold lightning motifs, and fabulous macaw symbols (see more about these in the extended description below) on the olla. The olla is adorned in a Casas Grandes Ramos polychrome style in which red painted sections are outlined in black. The rounded underside is plain as is the rim; the interior is unpainted. Overall, a very strong example. Size: 9" in diameter x 7.5" H (22.9 cm x 19 cm)
In the desert climate of the southwest region of the United States, scarlet macaws were revered by the indigenous and incorporated into religious ceremonies. Archaeologists have uncovered actual egg shells and skeletal remains of macaws, as well as imagery of macaws on rocks and ceramic vessels like this one - all suggesting that the macaw played a significant role in exotic trade items and venerated works. The birds' feathers were used for trade with Central Mexico, and around 1000 CE the feather trade was apparently insufficient. Instead, actual live birds were traded.
The Casas Grandes (or Chihuahua) culture has always been the best known of the prehistoric cultures of northwest Mexico. International awareness of the culture first derived from its polychrome pottery and from the massive ruins of the culture's principal center, Casas GrandesÂ—now better known as Paquime.
Provenance: ex-Kurquhill's Gallery, El Paso, Texas, USA; ex-private El Paso, Texas, USA collection, acquired early to mid 1970s
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