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Huge Paracas Anthropomorphic Polychrome Vessel

Pre-Columbian, South Coast Peru, Paracas, ca. 600 to 500 BCE. One of the most impressive Paracas ceramic vessels we have ever seen, this bottle with its pristine spherical body and spool shaped attenuated neck is anthropomorphosed with a finely delineated head of a warrior, ruler, or shaman donning an impressive striated helmet. His visage is elegantly modeled with protruding slitted eyes, a straight nose, crescent moon shaped ears, and slightly emerging closed lips. The gentleman appears to be in a trancelike or prayerful state with his closed eyes, scarification or tear marks, and an overall solemn expression. His body is further delineated with incised arms and legs hugging the contours of the sphere. Both hands gesture toward a geometric glyph, perhaps a stylized "God's Eye" glyph, incised upon his chest. Additional geometric symbols adorn the remainder of the sphere. Ceramics were a significant form of visual culture created by the Paracas artisans. Usually their vessels were actually decorated after the firing process with resin-based colors, but here the rich textural red and orange slips that contast so nicely with the smooth, black bottom and rim as well as the painstakingly incised details were created prior to the firing process. A rare example from this very early Peruvian culture, impressive for its overall orb-like form symbolizing the greater cosmos or universe as a harmonious whole and sublime modeled and incised anthropomorphic countenance! Size: 10.75" in diameter x 11" H to tip of head (27.3 cm x 27.9 cm)

Provenance: Ex-California Museum of Ancient Art

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