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Rare Moche Fineline Stirrup-Jar with Marsh Scene

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pottery: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1177558

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Rare Moche Fineline Stirrup-Jar with Marsh Scene

This interesting Moche ceramic dates circa 300-500 A.D., Moche III-IV periods. This superb piece is approximately 9.25 inches high, and is in intact condition with vibrant colors. This piece has some attractive light brown burnishing on the vessel, and has reddish-brown painted highlights over a cream background. This piece has a conical projection from the top of the vessel, and an attached red stirrup handle is seen on the side. This conical projection may represent a Moche ceremonial club, as it is very analogous in shape to the terminal end of a wooden ceremonial sacrificial club that was found in Tomb 1, Platform II, Huaca de la Luna, Peru. (See "Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru", National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Yale University Press, 2001, pp.96-97, fig.10. Immunological analysis of this wooden club indicated that it had been repeatedly drenched in human blood, and this club could have been used to ceremoniously break crania or other bones of victims. See attached photo. Another Moche stirrup-jar vessel with an analogous conical projection of this type is seen in "Moche Art of Peru" by Christopher Donnan, University of California, Los Angeles, 1978, pp.46-47, fig.65-66. This particuliar fineline vessel has a procession of warriors seen with war clubs, helmets, and small shields.) The piece offered here has a frieze of four red floral/reed groups, which are evenly spaced in the cream colored field that is seen around the main body of the vessel, and there is an avian above each. There is a red "center bar" symbol that divides this frieze into two parts, and in addition, there are two floral symbols seen on each side of the vessel on the upper shoulder. According to Donnan in the reference noted above on p.33: "In two-dimensional representation, plants are consistently shown in profile, with one notable exception: the blossoms on a flowering plant which often occurs in fresh water scenes are shown from above. (fig. 58)". The red "center bar" symbol noted above, was also a Moche convention of art to not only divide the frieze into two parts, but also to give the viewer a two-dimensional plane which offers the viewer of this frieze a view from above, along with a profile view as well. This "duality of portraiture" is seldom seen in Pre-Columbian art, and as such, this piece is a rare example of Moche fineline ceramics. In addition, the red "center bar" symbol also likely represents a "tie symbol", which simply is a rope and/or cloth that is seen tied around the neck of the vessel. According to Elizabeth Benson in "Death-Associated figures on Mochica Pottery", published in "Death and the Afterlife in Pre-Columbian Art", Washington D.C., 1973, p. 108: "The tie seems to be symbolic of offering or sacrifice; I believe that tying is an integral part of the funerary ritual, and that the jar with the rope around the neck is the purest funerary symbol. The tied jar is perhaps in some way equivalent to the prisoner figure or the sacrificial limb or head". This "tie symbol", along with the raised conical projection which may represent a ceremonial sacrifical club, are both symbols that point to the fact that this vessel was also likely a "ceremonial offering vessel" that was associated with the ritual of "offering and sacrifice". Ex: Sotheby's New York, Antiquities, Tribal, Pre-Columbian and Later Works of Art, June 1981, no. 41. Ex: Dr. Klaus Maria collection, circa 1981-2012. (Note: Additional documentation is available to the purchaser, including a TL test document from Gutachten Lab., no.481811, dated June 11th, 1983.) I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition:

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