Pre-Columbian, Colombia, Tairona, ca. 1000 to 1500 CE. A long drug-grinding implement, hand-carved from a mottled red stone with white inclusions known as brecciated jasper. The tool has a tapered handle with a slanted point as well as a large receptacle at one end for grinding lime to mix with coca leaves to permit the narcotic access to the bloodstream. Projecting from the receptacle is a knob-shaped grip with a pair of incised grooves which enable the user to better control the instrument when preparing its contents. Remnants of some original substances are still stuck inside the receptacle. Custom museum-quality display stand included. Size: 1.2" W x 10.25" H (3 cm x 26 cm); 11" H (27.9 cm) on included custom stand.
According to the Tairona Heritage Trust, "The word 'coca' derives from an Aymara word that means simply 'tree'. Prior to the Conquest, Indians used various names for the several varieties of cultivated Erythroxylum. The Spanish took the name 'coca' from the southern reaches of the Incan empire and bought it into use throughout their domain . . . Coca chewing suffused South American life and the stimulant properties of its leaves have been known from at least the Nazca period (around 500 CE). 'We know this because of the discovery of the mummified remains of a Peruvian potentate of this era accompanied by several bags of coca leaves. In addition, pottery of this period frequently depicts coca chewers with their characteristic distended cheeks.' (Mann J.)" (http://tairona.myzen.co.uk/index.php/culture/the_use_of_coca_in_south_america)
Provenance: private California, USA Collection
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