Weekly Auctions of Exceptional Items
Log In
lots of lots
Lot 0111G
Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A tall, striking incensario depicting a double-headed anthropomorphic figure attended by a variety of serpent and lizard-like beings. The figures stand back to back, squatting, with only two arms between them, four legs, and two sets of male genitalia. The face of one is smaller than the other, depicted with round, spool-shaped earrings, a low, ridged headdress, and wide eyes applied to either side of a giant nose. The second face is very similar in form, but he wears a much more elaborate headress, this one capped by two protruding snake heads. Behind the heads is a bowl-like hollow for holding the items to be burned. Along its sides, forming a handle, are ridgebacked lizard-like animals, their heads appearing at ninety degrees to the human faces around the bowl. The serpents' bodies twine around each other upward to the top of the handle's arc. Size: 5.2" L x 7.7" W x 15.6" H (13.2 cm x 19.6 cm x 39.6 cm)

Incense played a major role in religious practice in ancient Mexico, from the Olmec onward. Many tombs are outfitted with incensarios and the items also seem to have been used in ceremonies by the living. The incense was made from copal, tree resin from the torchwood tree. By burning copal, Mesoamerican priests made an offering to the gods - for example, during an Aztec ceremony for the god Huitzilopochtli, the hummingbird-formed god of war, priests hoped that their prayers would be carried upward along with the wafting smoke and scent.

Provenance: private D. C. collection, California, USA; D. C. is an Emmy Award winning Hollywood writer and Executive Producer, collected before 2000

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.



Repaired from multiple pieces, especially the huge headdress area. Losses to two parts of the headdress. Accession number written in ink on a white strip of paint low on one leg.

Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

Colima Pottery Incensario, Janus\-Headed

Estimate $1,200 - $1,500Jan 18, 2018