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Monumental Jamacoaque Pottery Standing Figure w/ TL

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Pre-Columbian, Ecuador, Jama Coaque (Jamacoaque) culture, ca. 500 CE. Perhaps the largest Jamacoaque sculpture we have ever seen, an animated figure depicting a dramatic transforming shaman, with wonderful remains of blue and red pigment on the surface, standing in a somewhat crouching position, as if engaged in a ceremonial dance, with hands or paws extended outward before his body with threateningly sharp claws. The figure's body is covered with a furry or feathery coat comprised of countless appliques, suggesting zoomorphic or avian characteristics. His visage is in a word - WILD - with bulging eyes, flaring nostrils, and a gnashing, toothy grimace. Furthermore, he is elaborately adorned with a highly decorated headdress, a grand 'beaded' pectoral, massive earrings showing openwork and applied details, a nose ornament that extends to the corners of his mouth, a fanciful loincloth, bracelets, legbands, and anklets. Size: 10" L x 15" W x 24.75" H (25.4 cm x 38.1 cm x 62.9 cm)

This piece is certainly impressive for its size, but it is also unusual because it was created to be viewed in the round - from all sides and angles. Most Jama Coaque figures are smaller and not finished on the backside; this one, however, shows remarkable detailing on all sides including the back. Dress and ornament were identifiers of clans and ethnic groups and markers of rank among many ancient American peoples. Information encoded in elements of clothing and jewelry would have been understood by the members of those groups.

Shamanic transformation - brought on in part by the ingestion of coca leaves - was a favorite subject depicted in Jamacoaque sculpture. This culture departed from earlier Ecuadorian pottery traditions such as the Valdivian or the Chorrera in that to the Jama Coaque society, it was important to represent the various statuses and occupations of individuals possessing specialized roles, especially shaman. This striking figure stands on its own as a work of art; however, it also brings to life the customs and beliefs of this ancient Ecuadoran culture.

This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.

Condition: This figure has been reconstructed from multiple pieces with areas or restoration over the break lines. Two holes beneath lower lip - perhaps for attachments (ie a labret) or firing holes. A small divot to one eyeball and normal surface wear. A few tiny holes created for TL testing. Impressive remains of blue and red pigment on the surface. Areas of earthen and mineral deposits.

Provenance: private S.H. collection, Santa Clara, California, USA; purchased from Contiki Gallery, Florida, USA

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.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all purchases.

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