Pre-Columbian, Colombia, Tairona, ca. 1000 to 1500 CE. A lengthy hand-carved drug implement with a receptacle at one end for grinding lime to mix with coca leaves to permit the narcotic access to the bloodstream. Fashioned from a mottled red stone with white intrusions (brecciated jasper), this tool has a spiralized body similar in form to an elongated spire mollusk shell. Size: 9.375" L (23.8 cm).
According to the Tairona Heritage Trust, "The word 'coca' derives from an Aymara word that means simply 'tree'. Prior to the Conquest, Indians used various names for the several varieties of cultivated Erythroxylum. The Spanish took the name ‘coca’ from the southern reaches of the Incan empire and bought it into use throughout their domain . . . Coca chewing suffused South American life and the stimulant properties of its leaves have been known from at least the Nazca period (around 500 CE). 'We know this because of the discovery of the mummified remains of a Peruvian potentate of this era accompanied by several bags of coca leaves. In addition, pottery of this period frequently depicts coca chewers with their characteristic distended cheeks.' (Mann J.)" (http://tairona.myzen.co.uk/index.php/culture/the_use_of_coca_in_south_america)
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-private J.H. collection, Poway, California, USA
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