Pre-Columbian, Mexico, Olmec period, Tlatilco people, Tlapacoya, ca. 1250 to 800 BCE. An important and incredibly preserved incised vase from the Calixtlahuaca ware tradition. The vase is buff earthenware with incised motifs, covered with a kaolin white slip with the remains of red cinnabar coloration in the incised lines. This is a highly unique type of Olmec ceramic vessel showing both serpent and Earth monster ("Olmec dragon") imagery. The repeated triangular motif possibly symbolizes mountains, while the band below has circular forms, perhaps symbolizing celestial bodies like the sun or moon. Some researchers have theorized that the double-bodied form of the vessel was derived from a particular type of calabash that washed ashore in the Americas from the African continent. Size: 4.75" W x 5.7" H (12.1 cm x 14.5 cm)
The Olmec dragon is also known as the jaguar-monster, often given an anthropomorphic body, as on many carved greenstone hand axes, sometimes with components of caiman and/or crocodile. This god evolved into the Fire God of later civilizations, who, for the Maya, was associated with royal lineages and dynastic succession.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: ex-Louis Land collection, San Francisco, California, USA, acquired in the 1970s
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Tiny stable crack in rim, with two drill holes for TL testing - otherwise in excellent condition.