Pre-Columbian, Peru (North Coast), Moche Culture, ca. 100 to 700 CE. A fascinating, intact example of one of the classic forms of pre-Columbian pottery - the Moche stirrup vessel, in the form of an anthropomorphic figure with an attached handle to create a ceremonial drinking vessel. A vessel like this most likely would have been created for a member of the elite and placed in their tomb as a grave offering to demonstrate their wealth as they began their journey into the afterlife. This particular vessel depicts Ai Apec, the chief deity of the Moche (Mochica) culture. He bears the identifying marks of the god, with feline fangs extending from his fierce mouth and a crouched animal as his headdress. His legs hang down the back of the vessel, terminating not in feet, but in snake-like heads. Ai Apec rests on a bed of enormous, standing chili peppers - a popular crop of the Moche that may have had phallic connotations. Size: 6.2" W x 8.2" H (15.7 cm x 20.8 cm)
Provenance: private Southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s
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