Pre-Columbian, North Coast Peru, Moche, ca. 100 to 300 CE. A stunning matched pair gold ear ornaments, made from hammered gold sheet that measures over 18K. The design is comprised of two joined hemispheres resulting in a hollow, orb-like form - finely detailed with a raised abstract floral decoration featuring five circular depressions around a pointed center encircled by a recessed border on one side, and a low relief abstract flower blossom on the reverse, with a suspension loop at its center. Size: larger ornament (though both are nearly the same size) measures 1.375" in diameter x 1.125" H (3.5 cm x 2.9 cm); 3.625" H (9.2 cm) on included custom stand. Weight: 12 grams.
It should be said that any goldwork from the Moche is exceedingly rare, as their treasures were targeted by plunderers during Colonial times. Heidi King of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York offers the following explanation in "The Art of Precolumbian Gold": "The Mochica or Moche as they are also known, built their capital in the dry, coastal valley of Moche, where the main construction was the Huaca del Sol, the so-called Pyramid of the Sun, the largest adobe structure built in Pre-Columbian South America. The great pyramid, made of over 143 million adobe bricks, was clearly visible and easily accessible during Colonial times, and it received extraordinary attentions from early treasure hunters (Bray this volume). As a result of such attentions, little of the wealth in precious metals that the Moche peoples are believed to have possessed remains in its ancient form today. Those works that do remain are all the more important because of their rarity." (The Art of Precolumbian Gold: The Jan Mitchell Collection" edited by Julie Jones. Boston: Little Brown & Company, 1985, p. 212)
These ear ornaments were tested via XRF (x-ray flourescence) and contain 77% gold, 15% silver, and 8% copper - making them a bit more than 18K.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex Laurence Witten Collection, Florida, USA
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