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Lot 0083A
Pre-Columbian, North Coast Peru, Moche III to IV, ca. 400 to 700 CE. A hand-made and highly-burnished pottery vessel with a flat base, a bulbous body with three-dimensional features, and a stirrup-shaped handle with a tubular spout projecting from the verso. The vessel depicts a seated elderly male lord wearing a red loincloth and a cream-hued tunic detailed along the shoulders and wrists with enclosed bands of chevron and linear motifs. His stylized head boasts contoured cheek lines, pursed lips, a bulbous nose, almond-shaped eyes with painted pupils, and cupped ears with hanging discs, all beneath a paw-adorned circular headdress and a ponytail draped down the nape of his neck. He holds a small jaguar cub in his lap which presents enormous eyes, perky ears, and puffy jowls, and its tail wraps down along the man's left leg. Slip-painted in hues of cream, burgundy, and citrine - this is a fabulous example of early Peruvian figural pottery! Size: 5.75" W x 8.8" H (14.6 cm x 22.4 cm).

The jaguar symbolized power and might 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 Moche god wears a headdress adorned with a jaguar head and paws and important mortals like the one depicted here donned similar headdresses. A nocturnal animal, the jaguar sleeps in caves and dark places and creeps quietly in the forest, evoking great mystery. Oddly enough, few Moche artists would have actually seen jaguars as they are not indigenous to the coast; jaguars prefer moist forest conditions. However, scholars believe that some cubs were transported over the mountains for Moche rituals, and it is also possible that some jaguars wandered down the coast.

Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-Ferdinand Anton collection, Germany, famous Pre-Columbian art author; ex-Arte Primitivo, New York, New York, USA

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Stirrup spout reattached with some restoration at terminal bases as well as resurfacing and overpainting along break lines. Restoration and overpainting to jaguar's right ear. Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, small nicks to jaguar, spout, handle, and body, with fading to pigmentation in some areas. Light earthen deposits and nice traces of pigmentation throughout. Old inventory labels beneath base.

Buyer's Premium

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Moche Pottery Stirrup Vessel - Seated Lord & Jaguar Cub

Estimate $3,000 - $4,500Oct 11, 2018
Louisville, CO, USA