Pre-Columbian, north coast of Peru, Lemon Carro, Chavin culture, ca. 900 to 200 BCE. Wow! An absolutely stunning pale red stone cup, cylindrical in form, with its entire exterior - the sides and bottom of the vessel - carved with a multitude of relief figures representing gods and important religious contexts. Multiple serpents, jaguars, birds, and a central figure that appears to combine human and avian features encircle the body. The lower profile areas are colored bright red with a rich layer of cinnabar pigment. The detail and preservation is truly incredible! Comes in custom display case with mirror on base so you can see the underside! Size of cup: 2.4" W x 3.75" H (6.1 cm x 9.5 cm); size of case: Size: 6" L x 6" W x 11.15" H (15.2 cm x 15.2 cm x 28.3 cm)
The Chavin people lived in the northern Highland Andes, and their capital, Chavin de Huantar, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The artwork of Chavin represents the first widespread style in the Andes. The center of Chavin de Huantar is a massive, flat-topped pyramid, surrounded by lower platforms. Between 1200 and 500 BCE the pyramid space was used for religious ceremonies. The Old Temple, constructed very early in the history of the site, consists of a series of passageways built around a circular courtyard; within were carved stone monuments showing jaguars, serpents, and other figures with transformative and/or anthropomorphic features. At the very center is a towering stone stela depicting an anthropomorphic figure with a jaguar head and a human body, believed to be Lanzon, the chief deity of Chavin. Researchers believe that worshippers ingested hallucinogenic drugs, in part using vessels like this one, and then were led in the dark through the labyrinthine passageways before entering the central courtyard and coming abruptly face-to-face with the snarling features of the god.
For comparison, see Christie's Sale #1775, lot 71, November 21, 2006, which sold for $192,000.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-H. J. Westermann collection, Germany, collected 1950-60s
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Excellent condition with wonderfully preserved motifs and remaining cinnabar pigment. Light deposits on surface.