Weekly Auctions of Exceptional Items
0 selections
Log In
0 selections
lots of lots
Lot 0102
Pre-Columbian, Peru, Nazca culture, ca. 100 BCE to 800 CE. A fantastically preserved, diminutive polychrome vessel in the form of a flattened human head. The eyes are open wide, dominating the face, with a dramatic stepped pattern underneath each eye, perhaps meant to represent blood or tattooing. The head also has a tiny mustache, a small, projecting nose, and a trapezoidal, expressionless mouth. Black hair covers the rest of the "head," with an abstract, repeated, symmetrical pattern painted in red around the back of the head. The head is a "trophy head." A small, round opening in the top of the head serves as the mouth of the vessel. Size: 3.55" W x 2.5" H (9 cm x 6.4 cm)

The disembodied, "trophy" head is a very common one in Nazca artwork. Archaeological evidence from the 20th century shows that these stylized depictions are based on real rituals - over one hundred mummified trophy heads have been found from Nazca excavations, almost all with a puncture to the front of the skull for suspension. Archaeologists specializing this culture continue to argue over the significance of these heads in Nazca culture - warriors fallen in battle? Taking the power of enemies by assuming ownership of a crucial part of their bodies? Remembrance of deceased relatives? The artwork here is an intriguing reminder of this lost culture.

Provenance: ex private Florida, 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.



Light chipping and pitting on surface. Nose has been expertly restored, with a tiny bit of overpainting. Otherwise the piece is in excellent condition, with almost no wear to the original pigment.

Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

Choice Nazca Pottery Vessel - Anthropomorphic Head Form

Estimate $800 - $1,200Feb 15, 2018
Louisville, CO, USA