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Scarce Powerful Moche Ceramic Snake Finial for Ceremonial Staff

Scarce Powerful Moche Ceramic Snake Finial for Ceremonial Staff


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1339482
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 $2,675.00 
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This scarce piece is a Moche ceramic finial in the form of a moving snake, and dates circa 100-300 A.D. This piece is approximately 10.1 inches long, by 2.8 inches wide for the width of the head. This powerful piece has a nice dark to light gray polychrome glaze, with some attractive dark brown to black burnishing. There is also some spotty dark black mineral deposits, and this piece is intact with no apparent repair/restoration. This powerful piece displays a snake in the act of coiling for a strike, and one can see the open mouth with the bared teeth. The head is very detailed with some incised linear markings, refined raised eyes, and a well-defined boney head. The overall piece looks very realistic, and this is an artistic style hallmark of Moche ceramics. The snake closely resembles an anaconda or a boa with the flat nose and open and raised eye design. This piece was also made from molds, and one other analogous example of this type was on the market several years ago, and this piece may have been made as a pair for a bier or as a support for a canopy. Another theory is that this piece was made for a wooden ceremonial wooden staff, and the snake for the Moche shaman, was thought to demonstrate his power by controlling opposing forces in the supernatural world, and this in turn, would allow the shaman to become a living god able to cast spells, heal, and foretell the future. For this discussion relative to the powers of Moche shaman see: "Moche Art of Peru" by Christopher Donnan, University of California Press, 1978, p. 139. This "power-type" piece has a great deal of eye appeal, as it really looks alive, and it sits somewhat upright on a custom metal stand. Ex: Dr. Baker collection, NM, circa 1980's. Ex: Splendors of The World, HI, circa 1990's. I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: