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Moche Pottery Drinking Vessel - Portrait Head

Pre-Columbian, north coast of Peru, Moche V, 600 to 800 BCE. A striking grayware mold made portrait vessel of a person with wide eyes and strong worry lines around the mouth. The base is a hollow conical rattle and the top of the head is a wide opening. This vessel would have been placed in a tomb, perhaps containing a ritual offering. Size: 4.3" L x 5.8" W x 6.45" H (10.9 cm x 14.7 cm x 16.4 cm)

Moche V was a time period of social unrest, with radical changes and shifting urban centers, with the brief rise of the cities of Galindo in the Moche Valley and Pampa Grande in the Lambayeque Valley, but it is not clear what caused this unrest - some environmental calamity? A plague? Bad leadership, invasion, some other political explanation? At this time, portrait vessels became more generic - this probably does not depict an individual, but rather a common figure in Moche culture.

Condition: Intact, with tiny chip to inside of rim and some surface pitting as shown. Nice root marks.

Provenance: Ex-Private New York Collection, ex southwest collection

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