Weekly Auctions of Exceptional Items
0 selections
Log In
0 selections
lots of lots
Lot 0174B
Pre-Columbian, Peru, Inca Empire, ca. 1470 to 1532 CE. An amazing example of a ceremonial tumi, a curved, crescent-shaped blade topped by a long, cylindrical handle with a finial decorative motif of a condor eating a snake. The condor is delightfully depicted, standing with its body stretched outward, its wings and tail feathers raised and its head forward, its long beak clenched around a serpent who is equally well-depicted, his diamond-shaped head and mottled skin carefully emphasized by the artisan who made the piece. The condor and serpent were two of the three most important symbols of the Inca world (the third is the puma/jaguar). The condor was seen as the messenger between heaven and earth, who carried the souls of the dead into the sky on its strong wings. The serpent, meanwhile, was the wise dweller of the underworld, where new life began. Size: 4.95" W x 6" H (12.6 cm x 15.2 cm); 7.4" H (18.8 cm) on included custom stand.

The tumi was sometimes used to sacrifice llamas to the sun god. The Paracas people, also from the Andes, used the tumi for human trepanation, thought to open the mind to religious enlightenment; it is unknown if the Inca did similar, but they may have done so. In modern Peru, a tumi on the wall is a symbol of good luck

Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

We ship worldwide to most countries and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.



Tiny losses to edge of blade and one of the wings. Lightly encrusted, bright teal patina.

Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

Inca Copper Figural Tumi - Bird Eating Snake

Estimate $1,000 - $1,500Oct 12, 2017
Louisville, CO, USA