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Superb Moche Vessel with Serpent Priest Gods: Ex Madrid Painter

Superb Moche Vessel with Serpent Priest Gods: Ex Madrid Painter


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1281362
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 $3,265.00 
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This superb vessel is a Moche stirrup vessel that dates circa 300-400 A.D., Moche III Period. This piece is approximately 7.5 inches high, and is in intact condition with vibrant dark red and cream colors. This striking vessel has some minute black spotty mineral deposits and root marking, and has a nice even glaze. This piece is a lustrous deep dark red stirrup vessel, with a cream colored body, and the decorative elements seen on the main body of this vessel are also rendered in a dark red color. These decorative elements are comprised of two anthropomorphic figures seen moving to the right, with snake-headed tails and trailing snake-headed headdress/ears; and three snakes, with one seen between the stirrup handle, and two others which act as a dividing panel for each of the moving figures. These moving figures are also seen with a serpent-like and/or Iguana-like head, and a single human leg and arm which are extended away from the body, and this Moche convention of art is meant to convey that these figures are in motion. In addition, these figures are seen holding a sacrificial tumi knife in each hand, which may be an indication that this vessel portrays a sacrificial scene, as these moving figures may also be portraying Moche priests in costume who are engaged in a ceremonial sacrificial scene as "spirit gods". These moving figures also appear to be confronting the two facing snakes, and these facing snakes may also be seen as "spiritual sacrificial victims". According to Christopher Donnan in "Moche Fineline Painting: Its Evolution and Its Artists", UCLA Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, Ca., 1999, p. 196-197, Donnan comments further on Moche ceramics of this type: "The paintings of several other artists are stylistically similar to those of the Madrid Painter and the Larco Painter. All are on similar stirrup spout bottles with red spouts and white chambers. Both the red and white slips on these bottles were well prepared. They are covered evenly and completely, with none of the underlying color bleeding through. They painted fineline designs in red slip and added details either by overpainting or the cut-slip technique. Careful burnishing produced a handsome surface luster. These features are very distinctive amoung Phase III painted vessels. Perhaps they were produced in a single workshop." (See attached photo from the above reference, Fig. 6.19, that shows an analogous spiritual figure as seen on the vessel offered here. This piece also shows this figure holding a sacrificial head by the hair. This piece was also classified as being stylistically similar to the Madrid Painter.) The piece offered here is very close stylistically to the Madrid Painter, and may be by this painter and/or an individual who worked in his workshop. Moche vessels of this type are now scarce on the market, as they were only produced during the Phase III Period, and are of an extremely high artistic style. Overall, this piece is a superb intact example with vibrant colors, and is also likely by the Madrid Painter and/or his workshop. Ex: Private German collection, circa 1970's. Ex: Dr. Klaus Maria collection, Germany, circa 1980-2012. (Note: Additional documentation is available to the purchaser, including a TL authenticity test document from Gutachten Lab, Germany, no. 219005, dated 05-15-1990.) I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: