Pre-Columbian, Northern Peru, Maranon Jungle, Amazonas, ca. 300 to 100 BCE. A fabulous pair of gilded copper tupus, each one featuring a bicephalic serpent finial. The snakes' two faces are delineated on both sides of each tupu with round-bulging eyes comprised of applied rings and pointy noses. In addition a ridge tracing the midline of the faces and bodies of the serpents is delineated on both sides. Snake/serpents provide a fascinating element of Pre-Columbian iconography, as they were regarded to be a beneficial source of nourishment and at the same time quite deadly with their poisonous venom. Also important to the indigenous was the fact that snakes shed their skin annually thus rejuvenating themselves and serving as symbols of renewal and good health. The existence of two snake heads on this piece suggests the bicephalic serpent which was a signifier of high rank in various Pre-Columbian world views. Size: 8" H (20.3 cm); 8.8" H (22.4 cm) on included custom stand. Weight: 58.8 grams
These two-headed beasts were regarded as sky bands that arched over the earth or surrounded the seas serving as a passageway for the planets and stars of the celestial realm. This motif decorated articles associated with individuals of high rank, thus associating them with the powers of this mighty creature.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-private Hans Juergen Westermann collection, Germany
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Intentional perforations at upper end of tupu pins. Normal surface wear with slight gilt loss as shown commensurate with age. Nice areas of bright green patina.