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Huge Chancay Bi-Chrome Amphora w/ 2 Figures

Pre-Columbian, Peru, Chancay, ca. 1200 to 1470 CE. A large bichrome pottery urn, painted in chocolate brown on cream, with a myriad of beautiful geometric motifs - including a checkerboard pattern, zigzags with forms suggestive of eyes or eggs, and other phytomorphic entities around the body, the neck, and the rim; however, its most charming feature are the two small anthropomorphic figures emerging from the upper end of one side of the vessel above the handles - one with losses but the other displaying a high headdress and wide opened eyes. A pair of strap handles are attached at the mid-section. A jar such as this may have been used for storing water or chicha, the fermented beer drink. Size: 21" H (53.3 cm)

The Chancay people were exceptional ceramic and textile artisans, and archaeologists have often found vessels like this example in the tombs of Chancay nobility. Chancay artisans created ceramics that are quite distinctive in form and decoration - finely painted and molded with specific decorative details carefully added by hand - as we see in this example. The Chancay replaced the Wari, were contemporaries of the Inca, and in their latter period came under Inca influence. Their goods were traded throughout the Andean region.

Compare with similar examples in "Ancestors of the Incas, The Lost Civilizations of Peru" by Kauffmann-Doig, Presented by Wonders, 124/125.

Condition: Loss to one section of the rim. Chips to handles. Loss to one of the attached figures as shown. Surface wear with normal pigment losses, scuffs, and abrasions as shown. Accompanied by bag of fragments, presumably from the rim.

Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-Gaston De Havenon collection, acquired in 1970s

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