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Lot 178, Auction 5/30/2017: Pre-Columbian Monte Alban Olmec-Style Pottery Bowl

Pre-Columbian, Mexico, Monte Alban I, Olmec style, ca. 500 to 300 BCE. A straight-sided ceramic bowl with deeply-incised motifs on the body: repeated triangles with one side shorter than the other two, and long lines flowing down the interiors of each triangle. Viewed together, they look like the terraced slopes of a mountain range - probably intended, given that Monte Alban is located in the hills. The rim is thick and rolled, the base flat. Size: 5.6" W x 2.7" H (14.2 cm x 6.9 cm)

Monte Alban, a city inhabited for over a thousand years before abandonment centuries before the arrival of the Spanish, was a regional power that dominated much of the modern day state of Oaxaca and interacted with other city states in Mesoamerica, like Teotihuacan to its north. In its earliest phases, its ceramic and stone artwork seems to be imitative of the earlier Olmec style. Perhaps artisans at Monte Alban wished to emulate something great that had come before them.

Condition: Repaired from two large pieces, with restoration along break on exterior. Two old accession numbers painted on the base.

Provenance: Whisnant Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA acquired over twenty years ago

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