Pre-Columbian, South Coast of Peru, late Paracas or early Nazca, ca. 200 BCE to 400 CE. An incredible silver gold alloy finial for a crown, in the form of a highly abstract avian creature. Its head is an inverted triangle, gently indented to suggest small tufts, possibly to form the head of an owl; the wings are upturned, the lower part of the body crescent shaped. The thin metal sheet has been hammered into a dense pattern of spirals and lines that are perhaps meant to evoke the texture of a bird's feathered body. A square in the center contains what might be an abstract face. Size: 11.1" W x 9" H (28.2 cm x 22.9 cm); 11.7" H (29.7 cm) on included custom stand.
This is a very early example of an avian elite burial item; the oldest known date to around 350 to 200 BCE, found in elite burials in the Ocucaje Basin of the Ica Valley in southern coastal Peru. These burials contained ceramics, baskets, gold and feathered ornaments, musical instruments, and weapons, as well as many beautifull woven and patterned textiles. Researchers believe the the Ocucaje and nearby Paracas burials (both are commonly referred to as Paracas) represent the rise of a new religion, one that required new ritual paraphernalia - notably, avian-related objects like feathers and headdresses/crowns like this one, which later in time, became ubiquitous on ceramics and textiles, probably representing supernatural beings.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-Eugene Lions collection, Switzerland
All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.
A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.
We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
Areas of bending and bunching commensurate with age. The piece is delicate, and is displayed on a solid backing.