Pre-Columbian, Central Mexico, Las Bocas, Olmec, ca. 800 BCE to 300 BCE. A delightful ceramic vessel in the form of a round-bodied duck. The duck sits hunched down on its small feet, which poke out from the front of the vessel, as if peeking out from underneath downy feathers. The duck's head is drawn down into its body, with large eyes with round, emphasized pupils and a long, slightly open beak. The wings rest against the sides of the body, decorated with incised detail to give the appearance of ruffled feathers that contrasts with the otherwise smooth body of the vessel. Size: 8.2" W x 6.45" H (20.8 cm x 16.4 cm)
Las Bocas-style Olmec figures are named after an archaeological site in the modern Mexican state of Puebla, although most of the figures are from the surrounding area and not from the site itself. The style has come to be associated with the classic Olmec "baby face" figures. Ducks seem to have been particularly special to the Olmec, and often feature in their ceramic artwork, perhaps because they are animals who are comfortable on land, in the air, and in water - thus able to traverse the major worlds in Mesoamerican cosmogony.
See a very similar example at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/313/
Provenance: private Southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s
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