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Lot 0025A
Pre-Columbian, north coast of Peru, Salinar culture, ca. 200 BCE to 200 CE. A charming double-chambered ceramic vessel that whistles when you blow into it. Both chambers are tall ovoids, with one capped by a high cylindrical spout. The other is in the form of the body of a bat whose head rises from the top of the vessel and forms the mouthpiece of the whistle. A horizontal strap handle connects the spout to the back of the bat's neck. The bat has delightful details, with wings and feet in low relief on the vessel and the head decorated with large ears, wide eyes, and a mouth with something round - maybe a berry - in it that influences the sound from the whistle. Size: 8.4" L x 4.75" W x 7.5" H (21.3 cm x 12.1 cm x 19 cm)

Salinar potters were some of the earliest in Peru and were related to the Chavin and Cupisnique traditions; they invented the modeled-figure spout-and-bridge bottle style that their cultural descendants the Moche would perfect. Animal figures are particularly popular in their ceramics, and probably indicate a keen cultural awareness of the natural world. The bat may be symbolic of death, as the animals are associated almost universally in ancient cultures with the underworld, presumably because of their nocturnal habits and fondness for dark places like cave ceilings. What was the purpose of a vessel like this? We believe that it and ones like it played a role in funerary culture, as grave offerings, and in feasting, to drink ritual liquids. It may also have been used in funerary feasting, a practice known from the ancient Andes, where the remains of ancestors were brought out to be feasted with on important days.

Provenance: private Rita Caputo Pargeon collection

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Repaired from multiple pieces, with restoration over repairs that makes them almost impossible to see.

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Salinar Double Chambered Whistling Vessel - Bat

Estimate $1,600 - $2,400Mar 1, 2018
Louisville, CO, USA