Pre-Columbian, south coast of Peru, Paracas or Proto-Nazca people, ca. 500 to 300 BCE. Three 12-14KT gold sea creatures - two lobsters, one crab. Each made from hammered sheet gold with low relief decorative elements. The two lobsters have speckled claws and horizontally segmented bodies, with wide, round eyes. The crab's legs are bent downward to allow it to stand upright; its legs are dotted, and its lower body is segmented. Ancient Peruvians were keen observers of nature, and would have been familiar with the bodies and movement of sea creatures like these. The crab, in particular, may have had special significance, as we know that the later Moche people had a major marine deity in the form of a crab who fought against a fish monster in a periodic cycle of death and rebirth. The Inca also thought of the crab as a mystical creature. Each of these was made to be an applique to be sewn onto a tunic. Size of largest (crab): 1.9" W x 2" H (4.8 cm x 5.1 cm); 7.05" H (17.9 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex H. J. Westermann collection, Germany, collected 1960-70
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