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Lot 0112B
Pre-Columbian, Caribbean/Florida, Taino people, ca. 1000 to 1500 CE. A striking manatee bone spatula or vomiting stick, hand-carved into the form of a zemi (cemi) - a deity or ancestral spirit who is housed in a sculpted object. The face is wide-eyed and wide-mouthed, and somewhat simian in shape. The body below is incredibly abstract and terminates in a flattened, rounded end. Comes with custom stand. Size: 1.5" W x 4.3" H (3.8 cm x 10.9 cm); height on stand: 4.85" (12.3 cm)

Taino spirituality, which focused on the spirit of the ancestors and the god of cassava, their primary crop, was mediated by a class of priests (bohiques), who often engaged in the taking of hallucinogenic drugs to aid in rituals and ceremonies. The Cohoba ritual required this type of special object, designed to induce vomiting to help a shaman purge themselves; this, coupled with fasting, allowed the shamans to have the most pure high from the Cohoba powder. Many of these vomiting sticks were made from the rib bones of West Indian Manatee.

Provenance: Whisnant Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana, acquired over twenty years ago

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Patina from touch/age, with very small areas of encrustation. Lower end may have an old loss, or it may be the natural end of the bone.

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Taino Manatee Bone Spatula w/ Zemi Face

Estimate $900 - $1,350Jan 18, 2018