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Lot 230, Auction 6/29/2017: Important Taino Double Zemi-Headed Stone Pestle

Pre-Columbian, Caribbean, probably Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, or Jamaica, Taino, ca. 1000 to 1500 CE. A special ceremonial pestle, skillfully hand-carved from a rich green stone with twin skeletal Zemi figural heads, each one boldly delineated with circular ocular cavities, nasal bones, wide open oral cavities, and jutting chins. Extending between their ears are incised headbands. Taino art is comprised of many religious objects associated with the worship of "zemis" - a term referring to deities, ancestors, or earth spirits believed to be inhabited by powerful spirits. It is possible that this pestle was used to create Cohoba powder that is traditionally inhaled by a shaman to produce hallucinogenic effects and visions during a ritual that the Tainos interpret as apparitions of spirits who deliver important messages. Size: 5.25" W x 6.625" H (13.3 cm x 16.8 cm)

Condition: Minor surface wear with a few small losses here and there as shown. Nice pecking marks.

Provenance: private Orange County, California USA collection acquired before 1980

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