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X-Rare Moche Man Head Vessel with Facial Deformity

X-Rare Moche Man Head Vessel with Facial Deformity


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pottery: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1234584
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 $2,675.00 
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This extremely rare piece is a Moche "open topped" jar that is Moche V Period, circa 500-700 A.D. This piece is approximately 5.6 inches high, by 5.25 inches wide at the base. This interesting piece is a polychrome black-ware vessel, and has a nice glazed surface with some attractive dark brown burnishing. This type of Moche "portrait vessel", is generally seen within the Moche V Period, and is often associated with "open topped" vessels with an extended neck. The extremely rare piece offered here is intact, has some spotty mineralization, and some attractive minute root marking. This piece shows a man with a facial deformity, as the face is seen caved in with a diminutive nose and an extended lower jaw. The man is also seen looking straight ahead with what appears to be a forlorn facial expression. This piece was collected circa 1960's by Dr. Ernst J. Fisher, who collected Moche art/ceramics that were medical related, and often depicted individuals with diseases and/or deformities. The Moche were known for their realistic ceramic portraiture of individuals, and the vessel seen here is a prime example of their skill for realism in portraiture, and it is likely that this piece depicted an actual individual. The most common view of the deformed face of the individual depicted here, is that this deformity was the result of a disease such as Mucocutaneous Leishmaniasis (ML), and this disease is found today in Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru. ML is contracted from a sand fly bite, and subsequently, ML symptoms include painful nodules inside the nose, perforation of the nasal septum, and enlargement of the nose and lips. Untreated, the disease leads to ulcerated lesions and scarring and tissue destruction predominately in the face and extremities which can be disfiguring (See MedicineNet.com for more information regarding this disease.) This piece likely displays the disease noted above, as the final stage of this disease is a collapse of the nasal septum followed by death. This piece may also have been a votive type piece, as this disease was regarded by the Moche as a sacred sign of the Gods, and consequently, this type of "portrait vessel" is extremely rare. Ex: Dr. Ernst J. Fischer collection, Germany, circa 1960's. Ex: Private German collection. (Note: Additional documentation is included for the purchaser.) I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: