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Paracas Terracotta Plate, Zoomorphic Motif - TL Tested


Pre-Columbian, Peru, Paracas culture, ca. 200 to 100 BCE. A huge polychrome bowl with a shallow rim that flares outward at a low angle. The exterior has been painted with a ring of abstract motifs showing dots inside of stepped triangles on the rim, with a flat black base. The interior shows the Trophy-Head Deity on a black background. The deity and other motifs are predominantly yellow, with green, red, and small grey details, painted with mineral pigments mixed with plant resin that was applied post-firing to the surface. The hardened resin created a shiny surface characteristic of Paracas ceramics. Size: 17.5" W x 1.15" H (44.4 cm x 2.9 cm)

Who was the Trophy-Head deity? Here, as on other Paracas ceramics, it is depicted as a combination of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic forms, with streamer-like appendages dangling off its body in a way that suggests an absence of gravity or possibly an underwater setting. Triangular ridges on the body are thought to mirror the shape of obsidian knives, which are commonly found alongside trophy heads in Paracas graves. In this example, the deity's face is wide, seemingly smiling, with huge green eyes with red irises. Two of its appendages project from a flat headdress or horn-like area on top of its head and each one holds a smaller humanoid figure at the end. These figures mirror those seen on Paracas textiles, which were used to wrap elite members of Paracas society in mummy bundles.

This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient; if purchased, you will receive a report from QED Laboratoire, Marseille, France, confirming its age.

Condition: Piece has been repaired with some overpainting of repair lines. Excellent remaining pigment.

Provenance: private Spanish collection, acquired in the 1980s

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

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