**Originally Listed At $650**
Pre-Columbian, North Coast Peru, Chavin, ca. 1000 to 500 BCE. Two highly-stylized anthropomorphic trophy head beads hammered in repousse from gold sheet comprised of 71% gold (equivalent to 15K+ gold). Each visage presents almond-shaped eyes with beady pupils beneath an arched browline, an aquiline nose, and stitched lips. The beads have been perforated thrice on each side. Beads like these examples represent some of the earliest gold work from the Andes. The first known extraction of ore comes from the Initial/Formative period, ca. 1800 to 900 BCE; during the Early Horizon (ca. 900 to 200 BCE) when these beads were made, the Andes were united under the cult propagated out of Chavin de Huantar. Examples of precious metalworking are quite rare and are almost exclusively crafted from gold. Size: each bead measures .875" L x .75" W (2.2 cm x 1.9 cm); Total weight: 2.2 grams
Mummified trophy heads date to the pre-ceramic period in ancient Peru. Head-taking was a significant component of their warfare and religious mythology. A warrior could increase his might and status by capturing prisoners for head-taking. According to scholar Paul A. Clifford, the fact that the lips of trophy heads are pinned shut " . . . implies that head-taking might mean the acquisition of a slain enemy's power or the prevention of his soul or spirit from harming the killer. Pinning lips shut on the trophy head could inhibit the loss of the soul or power embodied within the head." (cf. Art of the Andes: Pre-Columbian Sculptured and Painted Ceramics from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation: Washington D.C., 1983, p. 251.)
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection
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