Pre-Columbian, Central Coast Peru, Moche, Phase III, ca. 300 to 500 CE. A finely built pottery vessel with a planar base, a cylindrical body with a quartet of identical portraiture protruding reliefs, a discoid rim with a narrow lateral rim, a stirrup-shaped handle, and a central spout with a slightly flared lip. Depicted on the cream-slipped body are four matching human faces with sculpted features accentuated with applied crimson-hued pigment for the coffee-bean-shaped eyes, the lip lining, and the swirling facial tattoos that stretch up the nose and across the cheeks. The radiating red lines atop the shoulder suggest it represents a hat which all four faces share. Perhaps the depicted faces represent an individual of importance like a prominent warrior, a powerful shaman, or a member of nobility. Size: 5.7" W x 8.75" H (14.5 cm x 22.2 cm)
The stirrup vessel form is named for its resemblance to a horseback riding saddle stirrup. In addition to being iconographically rich, these vessels were also practical. Their narrow openings prevented rapid evaporation of the precious liquid within - a great advantage given the extremely dry deserts of Peru. Note also that the shape of the neck made it easy to carry. Two stirrup vessels could be tied to the ends of a cord and suspended over a llama's back or a person's shoulder.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) analysis and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-private lifetime collection of Dr. Saul Tuttman and Dr. Gregory Siskind, New York, New York, USA, acquired in the 1980s
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TL holes on bottom and rim. Handle and spout reattached to top of body, with resurfacing and overpainting along break lines. Minor encrustations and abrasions to base, body, handle, and spout, and light fading to original pigmentation. Great manganese blooms and traces of original pigment throughout.