Pre-Columbian, North Coast Peru, Chimu, ca. 1100 to 1450 CE. A wonderful blackware vessel with an expressive jaguar handle - the wild feline's paws joining neck to shoulder, its arched back adorned with an impressed spotted pattern, and its long tail delineated in relief on the vessel's body below. The jaguar presents an expressive visage with incised almond-shaped eyes, a protruding nose, perky ears, and an open mouth revealing central fangs. Complementing this iconography is the incised decorative program comprised of registers of stylized geometric motifs on the body. Size: 5" in diameter x 5.5" H (12.7 cm x 14 cm)
Throughout the Pre-Columbian world, warriors, rulers, hunters, and shamans alike associated themselves with this king of beasts, the largest and most powerful feline in the New World. The principal deity of the Moche, another ancient Peruvian culture, wears a headdress adorned with a jaguar head and paws and important mortals donned similar headdresses. A nocturnal animal, the jaguar sleeps in caves and dark places and creeps quietly in the forest, evoking great mystery.
Provenance: private Leonard collection, Virginia, USA, acquired before 1979
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