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La Tolita Terracotta Votive Simian/Shaman Mask

La Tolita Terracotta Votive Simian/Shaman Mask


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pottery: Pre AD 1000: Item # 905917
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This dramatic piece is from the La Tolita culture that is from northern Ecuador, Esmeraldas region. The La Tolita culture takes its name from a famous site that is located on an island at the mouth of the Santiago River. This superb piece dates circa 400 B.C.-300 A.D., is a light brown terracotta, and is approximately 3.75 inches high by 4 inches wide. This piece is a mask that depicts a simian and/or shaman, and the expression is quite dramatic, as the fine detail of the teeth and nose is easily seen. What makes this mask so interesting is that this mask may represent a simian in a state of transformation, from animal to man, or vice-versa, and it may also represent a shaman with a mask who is seen representing this state of being. This transformation may also have been drug induced, as this culure was known to have used drugs in ceremony. This mask is also votive, and may have served as a spirit mask for a mummy bundle or effigy. There are several holes that run around the edge of this piece that may have been used for attachment. This piece is intact, and has no repair/restoration. There is also some original light white paint that is seen in some of the sections of this piece, along with some spotty dark black/brown mineral deposits. This piece is better than most examples that have been on the market, and is analogous to the example seen in the Museo Arqueologico y Galerias de Arte del Banco Central de Ecuador, Quito. (See "Pre-Columbian Art" by Jose Alcina Franch, Abrams Pub., New York, 1983, p. 432, no. 573.) This piece comes with a custom black plexiglas stand, and can easily be removed, as the mask simply hangs from a pin. Ex: Peter Hacintos collection, New York. Ex: Private Florida collection. I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: