Pre-Columbian, Valley of Mexico, Teotihuacan, ca. 100 to 900 CE. A detailed, expressive lid for an incensario in the form of a human figure with elaborate headgear. The figure has huge round earrings, large bracelets, and a matching necklace. The figure's face is interesting, the eyes narrowed to slits, the mouth full of bulging teeth held in a tight grimace; the figure's hands are clasped together in front of the body in what may be an auspicious gesture. This piece is a beautiful demonstration of the skill that the ancient people of Teotihuacan had with pottery. Size: 6.4" W x 8.7" H (16.3 cm x 22.1 cm)
Incense played a major role in religious practice in Mesoamerica, 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.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: private Colorado, USA collection
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