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Rare Zapotec Pottery Incensario - Bat God

Pre-Columbian, Mexico, Oaxaca, Zapotec culture, Monte Alban, ca. 100 BCE to 200 CE. An intriguing, hand-built pottery incensario vessel in the form of Camazotz, the Zapotec Bat-god. Camazotz is depicted with an anthropomorphic body in a seated position with attenuated limbs and a broad loincloth, and boasts an expressive bat-like head with broad, cupped ears, an upturned nose, impressed eyes, a crest-adorned brow, and a gaping mouth full of protruding fangs and a hanging tongue. Certain groups of ancient Zapotec peoples worshipped the cult of Camazotz by filling vessels like this with slow-burning incense as the deity was associated with ritual sacrifice, night, and ultimately death. Traces of red pigmentation on the tongue suggest this piece was at one time adorned with layers of brightly-colored pigment. A fabulous and exceptionally rare example of fine Zapotec pottery! Size: 5" W x 8.55" H (12.7 cm x 21.7 cm).

Condition: Crest and one upper fang reattached with small chips and light adhesive residue along break lines. Minor nicks and losses to ears, head, body, and head, with fading to original pigmentation, and light encrustations. Nice traces of pigmentation within mouth, and great earthen deposits throughout.

Provenance: private Southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s

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