Pre-Columbian, Southern Peru, Nazca culture, probably Phase 6 or 7, ca. 600 to 800 CE. A fantastic example of an earthenware vessel with bright, clear iconography painted on both faces, a highly-burnished surface, and a pair of bridged concial spouts. This vessel depicts an anthropomorphic mythical being flying and holding a striped club in one arm, with an elaborate headdress, wide eyes, and wispy scarf trailing above his slender body. The deity's head is flanked by a large wing, and his characteristically-feline face displays large, paddle-shaped whiskers. Colored in hues of umber, maroon, citrine, lavender, jet, and fuchsia atop a cream-colored ground, this is a stunning and meticulously-detailed example from the Nazca! Size: 5.625" W x 4.875" H (14.3 cm x 12.4 cm).
This style of painting corresponds to later Nazca styles, when supernatural figures became the center of the artists' attention and their more fantastical elements are exaggerated over their human ones. Nazca pots were made using the coil and smoothing technique, never molded; their wide range of polychrome slips included pigments made with minerals like hematite, limonite, and magnetite, as well as white kaolin clay. This style of painting corresponds to later Nazca styles (there are either 7 or 8 Nazca phases in total) , when supernatural figures became the center of the artists' attention and their more fantastical elements - here two figures with enormous zoomorphic faces are exaggerated in comparison to the size of their bodies.
Colored portions of the vessel were painted with brushes made from llama and alpaca fur, and then given black outlines. The Nazca replaced post-firing resin painting with pre-firing slip painting making for a great deal of experimentation to learn which slips produced certain colors. Note the painstaking technique required to adorn this vessel with its intricate figural imagery in such a wide range of hues!
Provenance: private Denver, Colorado, USA collection
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Expected surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, some fading to pigmentation, with small nicks to spouts, bridge, body, and base, otherwise intact and excellent. One hairline pressure fissure on body near base stabilized with a black-hued substance. Light earthen and mineral deposits throughout.