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Vera Cruz Polychrome Olla - Sitting Lady, TL Tested

Pre-Columbian, Gulf Coast Mexico, Veracruz, ca. 3rd to 7th century CE. A gorgeous, hand-built pottery olla comprised of a planar base, tall walls, a frontal anthropomorphic design, a deep interior cavity, and a thin rim. A finely-modeled female figure is displayed seated in front of the vessel, cross-legged with both hands on her knees, wearing a lengthy cream-hued robe while projecting her head forward as if she were reciting a story. Her expressive visage is comprised of almond-shaped eyes with painted pupils, a prominent nose, a smiling mouth, ears with ornate earspools, and a plaited, jet-black coiffure which is parted down the middle. Attached to her back is a glazed, crimson-painted vessel with the exterior and most of the interior colored with pigment. This highly-burnished vessel is a unique and rather exceptional example from the ancient Vera Cruz culture! Size: 6" L x 4" W x 4.75" H (15.2 cm x 10.2 cm x 12.1 cm).

Excavations near Vera Cruz archaeological sites have revealed two types of impressive, detailed pottery figures: the Sonrientes, the joyous "smiling faces" depicting people of all ages and sexes, and figures like this one, more serious, often adult females, with costumes, themes, and sometimes props that all seem to point towards religious or political ceremonies. These figures are frequently found with the bodies smashed into pieces and the heads largely intact - they were ritually destroyed as burial offerings.

What is the meaning of this particular fabulous vessel? Much of the religious practice of this culture and others in Mesoamerica involved shamans/priests entering an altered mental state, often through the use of strong alcohol or hallucinogenic drugs. Once in that trance-like state, they would become someone different. The wide eyes and startled expression of the figure suggest that this is a depiction of a religious trance.

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: Loss to portion of one earspool and one foot restored invisibly. Surface wear commensurate with age, with small nicks to figure's body, head, and cup body. Light abrasions and fading to painted details, otherwise excellent. Light earthen deposits and nice root marks throughout.

Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-private T. Misenhimer collection, Hollywood, California, 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.

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