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Lot 60, Auction 11/21/2017: Rare Bahia Manabi Pottery Mask w/ Horns

Pre-Columbian, Ecuador, Manabi Province, Bahia culture, ca. 5th to 1st century BCE. A rare, interesting mask - round-faced, with long rectangular slits for eyes and a huge, aquiline nose depicted with a nose ring, the figure also has a small, open mouth with teeth made from glittering white rocks - probably quartz - at the corners. Raised, incised appliques of ceramic on the nose and around the lower part of the mouth suggest ritual scarification marks on a real face. Above the eyes are two horns with star-like projections on their ends; these are wrapped in applied coils of pottery. Comes with custom stand. Size: 6.85" W x 7" H (17.4 cm x 17.8 cm); height on stand: 7.25" (18.4 cm)

The Bahia lived on the coast, continuing one of the most ancient ceramic traditions in the New World. The aquiline nose is found in figures from this culture like one at the Metropolitan Museum (1995.24.3). A mask like this was probably made to be placed into a grave, perhaps commemorating a real person or signifying an important ancestor. The scarification marks on the face would probably have been used by the artisan who created this piece to indicate its identity.

Condition: Intact. There may be some teeth missing from the mouth but it is not clear. Really wonderful root marks on surface.

Provenance: private Vaught collection, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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