Pre-Columbian, North Central Peru, Inca, ca. 1470 to 1523 CE. Hand-carved from deep black stone and polished until smooth, a petite ritual vessel known as a canopa. The camelid form presents with a characteristically rotund ovoid body with smooth contours, a petite tail, and a deep interior cavity bored into the back. The raised head presents a lively countenance with large round eyes, perky ears, a broad snout with an open mouth, and incised teeth. Canopas typically depict alpacas, llamas, or other camelids and are often buried in the animals' corrals to protect the herds as well as promote fertility and virility. The cavity on the back would have been filled with offerings like coca leaves, maize, or animal fat in order to appease the gods. Size: 5" W x 3.95" H (12.7 cm x 10 cm)
Provenance: private southwestern Pennsylvania, USA collection, acquired prior to 2000
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Intact, with light surface wear commensurate with age, including some chips, nicks, and scratches. Smooth, rich patina.