Pre-Columbian, South America, Argentina or Chile, Mapuche Culture, ca. 1200 to 1700 CE. If ever there was a mask that captured the element of surprise, this one just might be it. A very rare, finely carved stone maskette of golden/green hues with areas of translucency, depicting an abstract visage comprised of openwork, circular eyes and mouth, a protruding straight nose and browline, and five perforations around the upper section presumably for attachment. Stone masks created by the Mapuche are believed to have been funerary in intent; however, small maskettes like this example may have been used in healing rituals. A fabulous example from this ancient culture that to the modern eye communicates so much - an aha moment of revelation, an eye opener, and for those who are familiar, Mr. Bill's famous catchphrase "OHHHH NOOOO!" Custom stand. Size: 3.625" W x 5.25" H (9.2 cm x 13.3 cm); 5.75" H (14.6 cm) on stand
Interestingly, the Mapuche managed to resist countless attempts by the Inca to subjugate them, despite what scholars have surmised to be a lack of communal organization. In addition, they successfully fought the Spaniards for more than 300 years. Historians have demonstrated that the Spaniard's initial conquests in the late 16th century were actually reversed by the Mapuche. Apparently, the Mapuche were so intimidating that Europeans would not return to certain areas until the late 19th century.
Provenance: private Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA collection, from private 1950's South America collection
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