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Massive Chupicuaro Polychrome Vessel - Avian Effigy

Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Guanajuato Valley, Chupicuaro, ca. 500 BCE to 300 CE. A striking pottery storage jar with a bulbous body with rounded walls, an overhanging lip, a pair of curved handles, a tab-shaped protrusions on the verso, and a bulbous decorative ornament on the front. The overall form of the vessel resembles a highly-stylized bird, with the handles doubling as wings and the tail on the back, the avian head boasting neatly-tooled facial features and a conical beak above a hemispherical chest decorated with an encircled checkerboard motif. The deep vermilion hue of the body serves as a wonderful ground atop which the cream and black-hued linear, geometric, stepped, and triangular details are presented, and the entire vessel rests atop a flared foot. A fabulous example replete with skillful execution and sophisticated motifs. Size: 11.5" W x 9.6" H (29.2 cm x 24.4 cm).

Chupicuaro society is well known for its sophisticated ceramic tradition featuring human effigies and food-service vessels of stunning aesthetic appeal such as this example. The feast was of utmost importance to supply food for the living as an integral part of social politics and also to provide sustenance for the soul's journey to the underworld. Beyond being objects for daily use, Chupicuaro ceramics were artistic achievements in their own right - elegant forms with boldly painted decoration typically in their signature deep red. The wide variety of vessel forms created by the Chupicuaro artisans points to the significance of the feast.

Condition: Professionally repaired from multiple large pieces, with restoration to some areas of foot and body, and resurfacing and overpainting along break lines and new material.

Provenance: ex-private Braunstein collection, Nevada, USA; ex-David Harner collection, acquired in the 1950s to 1960s

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