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Expressive Jamacoaque Polychrome Maskette - Fierce!

Pre-Columbian, Ecuador, Jamacoaque culture, ca. 500 CE. A fabulous ceramic maskette of a fierce face with mostly human features but fierce canine teeth and a rounded nose. This suggests a depiction of a person - probably a shaman or priest - mid-transformation into a feline or canine form. Much of the face is brightly painted with a deep red that encircles the features, perhaps representing tattooing or scarification. On the forehead are two rectangular bumps that probably represent tattoos or scarification as well. Around the top of the head is a large, curved headdress with stripes in red and white. Headdresses, jewelry, and facial decorations were all signifiers of rank and social status within many pre-Columbian societies; to a member of the Jamacoaque, the identity of this figure was probably instantly recognizable. A tiny hole drilled through the center of the headdress might give a hint as to how it was worn or attached. Size: 5.4" W x 5" H (13.7 cm x 12.7 cm); height on stand: 5.8" (14.7 cm)

Condition: Well done repair/restoration on the right (facing) part of the headdress that is not visible from the front. Very nice remaining pigment.

Provenance: private San Francisco, California, USA collection

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