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Recuay Pottery Jar - Royal Figure & Animals

Pre-Columbian, northern highlands of Peru, Recuay culture, ca. 200 to 600 CE. This is a unique, intricate vessel with a wide, strap-like handle and a broad, flaring rim above a thin neck and bulbous lower body. Size: 5.6" W x 7.5" H (14.2 cm x 19 cm)

In the classic Recuay style, this piece is made of fine, white kaolin clay, with thin walls and both sculptural elements and negative and positive painting techniques in red, cream, and black. Notable sculptural elements are a trio of three-dimensional heads with their bodies depicted as two-dimensional painted spaces on the body of the vessel. One of these is a human head with an elaborate, snake-decorated headdress (snakes are associated with Ai Apaec, the chief deity) and large earrings. His painted body is covered in animals with long claws, crested heads, and multiple arms ending in claws; his feet are three dimensional, jutting out above the base of the vessel and below a lip that seems to be a skirt. Those painted animals are the mythical "moon animals" that make frequent appearances in Recuay art. The two animals that flank the human figure are some kind of animals with round ears and mammalian faces. Perhaps these are companion animals or pets of the figure. Groups in the highlands area of Ancash began to make fine pottery from kaolinate pastes, which are known to us today as the Recuay culture -- these are some of the most sophisticated ceramic traditions in Andean prehistory, as is obvious from the delicate sculptured artistry and intricate painting of this piece!

Condition: Expected wear to paint and surface, but designs are still clear and paint mostly present.

Provenance: Ex-private Scollard collection, California, acquired before 1990.

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