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X-Rare Moche Man Vessel with Facial Deformity: Ex Edelman

X-Rare Moche Man Vessel with Facial Deformity: Ex Edelman


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pottery: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1249675
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290 Fillmore St. #D
Denver, CO. 80206
303-321-7351 gallery

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 $4,675.00 
$4,675.00

This extremely rare piece is a Moche seated man that is Moche IV Period, circa 450-550 A.D., and is approximately 8.3 inches high. This interesting piece is intact, save for a filled stress crack in the upper stirrup-handle, and is in superb condition with vibrant dark red, light brown, and cream colors. This piece is a seated Moche man who is dressed with regal ear flares, a wrapped headdress, a dark red back sack, and a cream colored tunic. The individual portrayed here does appear to have some social status in a regal or religious context, as he is seen finely dressed, and he is also seen holding a ceramic in each hand which may point to a ceremonial activity. This individual displays a pronounced facial deformity, which was also held in high regard by the Moche, as this was thought to be a sign from the gods. Special status and sacredness may have been accorded to those who suffered diseases and other physical handicaps. The pronounced deformed face of this individual has skin drawn tight over the bones, and is likely the result of a tropical disease. The Moche were known for their realistic ceramic portraiture, and the piece offered here is a prime example of their skill for realism in portraiture. Moche ceramics that are medical related, and depict individuals with diseases and/or deformities such as this piece, are rare to extremely rare. Another analogous example that portrays a deformed face is seen in "The Spirit of Ancient Peru: Treasures from the Museo Arqueologico Rafael Larco Herrara", Thames and Hudson Pub., by Kathlenn Berrin, San Francisco, 1997, no. 69. (See attached photo. This portrait-head type vessel seen in the Larco Herrara Museum may also be a portrait of the same individual as seen on the ceramic offered here. Both pieces have analogous features and are both Moche IV Period.) The individual seen here with the deformed face and diminutive nose was likely caused by a tropical disease known 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 symtoms include painful nodules inside the nose, perforation of the nasel 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.) The piece seen here likely displays the disease noted above, rather than a battle injury, or a ritualistic mutilation, but whatever the case, this interesting piece is an extremely rare Moche vessel that is seldom seen on the market. Ex: Gayle Grayson Gallery, Chicago, Ill., circa 1980's. Ex: Estate of Daniel J. and Ruth Edelman, Chicago, Ill. I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: