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Rare and Esoteric Olmec Seated Duck Poison Bottle: Ex Ferdinand Anton

Rare and Esoteric Olmec Seated Duck Poison Bottle: Ex Ferdinand Anton


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1351887
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290 Fillmore St. #D
Denver, CO. 80206
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 $1,675.00 
$1,675.00

This rare and esoteric piece is an Olmec seated duck poison bottle that dates circa 1100-800 B.C. This vessel is attributed to the Las Bocas region of Mexico, and is approximately 2.4 inches high. This piece has an attractive lustrous black glaze, along with some spotty light brown burnishing that is seen on all of the outer surfaces of the vessel. This piece is also intact, and has no repair/restoration. This piece is also in the form of a hollow container, as the top of the head has an opening into the hollow section of the lower body. This type of vessel is also known as a "poison bottle", as they generally held a substance such as red cinnabar or another hallucinogenic powder or liquid. This vessel was likely used in a ceremonial capacity, and this was likely the case for the majority of glazed Olmec vessels that depict birds such as ducks, raptors, and songbirds. (Another analogous "poison bottle" vessel of this type portraying a raptor is seen in "The Olmec World: Ritual and Rulership", Princeton University, 1996, Harry Abrams Pub., no. 61, p. 183. See attached photo.) The esoteric vessel offered here has a very animated face with dotted eyes, and two squat legs and an extended tail that serve as a tripod base for the vessel. There is also a "double dot-and-bar" symbol seen between the eyes, and the eyes also appear to represent dots as well. The "four-dots-and-bar" motif is also thought to represent the "axis mundi", as the conduit between the Olmec natural and supernatural realms, and the two dotted eyes together with the "double dot-and-bar" symbol, may be a representation of the "four-dots-and-bar" motif. The symbolism seen on this piece also reinforces the theory that this piece was created as a ceremonial type vessel. This piece is an exceptional example of Olmec ceramic art, and is seldom seen on the market. Ex: Ferdinand Anton collection, Germany, circa 1959. Ex: Private German collection, circa 1980's. (Note: Additional documentation is available to the purchaser.) I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: