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Lot 70, Auction 11/8/2018: Exceptional Colima Redware Parrot Tripod Vessel

Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, Protoclassic period, ca. 100 BCE to 250 CE. A wonderful pottery vessel of a vermillion hue in the form of a voluminous rounded olla with a short neck rising to a dramatically flared rim, and supported by three legs in the form of parrots, birds prized for their feathers by the ancients of the Americas. Each avian form is defined with incised and pierced ovoid eyes, curved beaks, and incised, modeled wings upon a plump body that resolves to a tapered tail. The slipped and burnished surface is truly magnificent. Iconographically this piece is quite poignant as parrots were symbols of fertility and abundance. Painted red surface with areas of root marks and scattered manganese blooms. Large, fine, and replete with symbolism! Size: 14.75" W at widest x 8.625" H (37.5 cm x 21.9 cm)

Colima, located on Mexico's southwestern coast, was during this time part of the shaft tomb culture, along with neighbors to the north in Jalisco and Nayarit. In this culture, the dead were buried down shafts - 3 to 20 meters deep - that were dug vertically or near vertically through the volcanic tuff called tepetate that makes up the geology of the region. The base of the shaft would open into one or more horizontal chambers with a low ceiling. These shafts were almost always dug beneath a dwelling, probably a family home, and seem to have been used as family mausoleums, housing the remains of many related individuals. This is a vessel made to be placed inside those mausoleums, perhaps to hold offerings and supplies for the journey between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Condition: Intact and excellent. Wonderful burnishing marks and manganese deposits. Simply superb.

Provenance: private Boulder, Colorado, USA collection; ex-private J. G. collection, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, acquired before 1975

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