Pre-Columbian, North Coast Peru, Chavin, Late Cupisnique, ca. 700 to 400 BCE. An incredibly rare Chavin portrait vessel with incised and post-fire red, black, and white pigmented details - presenting a skillfully modeled black face, white ovoid eyes, and stylized red and white tear marks of an angular form that fall down over the eyes and cheeks and then radiate outward once they reach the lips. The later Moche are perhaps better known for their portrait vessels; however, clearly this tradition began earlier in Peru as the Chavin were also inspired to create portrait vessels. Though less realistic than later Moche portrait vessels, the Chavin sculptor's more abstract renderings are quite powerful and dramatic. Size: 7.375" W (at widest point) x 10.875" H (18.7 cm x 27.6 cm)
The Chavin people lived in the northern Highland Andes, and their capital, Chavin de Huantar, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The artwork of Chavin represents the first widespread style in the Andes. The center of Chavin de Huantar is a massive, flat-topped pyramid, surrounded by lower platforms. Between 1200 and 500 BCE the pyramid space was used for religious ceremonies. Perhaps the angular contours of the tears on this vessel reference that monument.
A very similar vessel is listed by David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art for $18,000 - https://www.precolumbianart4sale.com/artist/_Peru/works/159/#!159
That gallery also points to a similar Chavin portrait vessel in the Linden Museum - Stuttgart as well as one in the Larco collection that is illustrated in "The Spirit of Ancient Peru" (p. 81) presenting similar facial features - though with wrinkles.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated; if purchased, you will receive a report confirming its age.
Provenance: ex-Ramon Alonso collection, Spain, acquired in the mid 1960s, then through descent upon his death in 1976
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