**Originally Listed At $800**
Pre-Columbian, Colombia, Quimbaya, ca. 5th to 10th century CE. A 14 karat gold poporo (lime container) cast in the form of a miniature vessel or flask with a slightly flattened ovoid body and a flared neck. The entire surface is extensively decorated - the body featuring four abstract zoomorphic (fish and/or bird) forms, the neck with a running wave - all finely delineated. A small suspension loop is attached to the circular lid. This is an exceptional example, replete with sophisticated technique, extensive decoration, and ceremonial intent. Quite a rare form! Size: 1.375" H (3.5 cm); weight: 4 grams
Various indigenous cultures of Pre-Columbian South America used poporos to store small amounts of lime made from calcined seashells that were used to enjoy the effects of coca leaves. A poporo traditionally consists of two pieces: the receptacle and the lid which includes a pin that is used to carry the lime to the mouth while chewing coca leaves. Since the chewing of coca has traditionally been considered sacred for the indigenous people, poporos have also been attributed with mystical powers and social status. The Quimbaya civilization is noted for spectacular gold work characterized by technical accuracy and detailed designs. Most of the retrieved items are part of funeral offerings, found in the inside of sarcophagi made of hollow trunks. The gold used to create poporos like this example represented a sacred metal ideal for an elite's passage to the afterlife.
Provenance: private Southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s
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