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Mint Moche Fineline Stirrup-Jar with Lively Hunted Deer

Mint Moche Fineline Stirrup-Jar with Lively Hunted Deer


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pottery: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1181942
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 $3,275.00 
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This interesting and lively Moche ceramic dates circa 300-500 A.D., Moche III-IV periods. This mint quality piece is approximately 9.25 inches high, and is in intact condition with vibrant dark red and cream colors. This piece also has some attractive light brown burnishing, and minute root marking seen on the upper end of the spout and near the lower base of the vessel. This piece has a lively running deer, seen on each side of the vessel, and each deer faces a central dividing "double-bar" symbol which is seen at the front of the piece. This "double-bar" symbol may also represent a sacrificial "tumi", but more likely it simply is a "tie symbol", with a rope and/or cloth 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 scarifice; 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". The dark red lively running deer are seen against a cream background, and are vibrantly portrayed with an upturned tail, a "floral-leaf" designed ear, an antler reaching forward at the top of the head, and a protruding hanging tongue. This piece also has a conical projection from the the top of the vessel, along with a seated frog that is seen centered at the top within a red fineline petal design, and the conical projection has an attached red stirrup handle seen on the side. This conical projection may represent a Moche ceremonial sacrificial club, as it is very analogous in shape to the terminal end of a wooden ceremonial sacrificial club that was found in Tomb I, 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. See attached photo.) The ceremonial sacrificial club also is associated with the "tie symbol" and the lively running deer seen on this vessel, as they may represent deer that are portrayed as being part of a Moche ceremonial deer hunt. According to Christopher Donnan in "Deer Hunting and Combat", seen in "The Spirit of Ancient Peru", Thames and Hudson, 1997, p. 54-55: "Deer are known to run with their tongues hanging out the sides of their mouths. No other animal in Moche art is shown in this way. Deer are known to run with their tongues out when they are winded or tired, and the artists may have intended to show them in this state. Moreover, when a deer is killed, the tongue will often drop out the side of the mouth through a gap that exists between the deer's incisor and molor teeth. In Moche deer hunting scenes, hunters consistently wear elaborate clothing, headdresses, and ornaments-attire that is altogether unsuited to the stalking and killing of deer. To understand why they are dressed this way, it is useful to consider the ethnohistoric records describing the great hunts practiced by the Inca. The best account is of a hunt held by the Inca ruler, Manco Inca, near the valley of Jauja in honor of Francisco Pizarro around 1536. On that occasion, 10,000 Indians formed a ring around an area 30 to 60 miles in circumference. They then closed toward the center, driving all the animals in the area before them, and forming several concentric rings as their circle grew smaller. When the circle was small enough, designated hunters entered it and killed as many animals as was desired." It's also quite possible that the deer seen on this vessel are portrayed at the point when they were ceremoniously killed, and that they were killed primarily for their blood for it's use in ceremony. In addition, the "floral-leaf" designed ear may also represent a deer's ear that has been engorged with blood from stressed running. The Moche placed a great deal of importance to the deer hunt, and the piece offered here shows artistic features that point to this fact. This mint quality piece is a scarce example of Moche fineline ceramics, and is seldom seen on the market. Ex: Private German collection, circa 1970's. Ex: Dr. Klaus Maria collection, circa 1980-2012. (Note: Additional documentation is available to the purchaser, including a TL test document from Gutachten Lab, no. 279006, dated July 6th, 1990.) I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: