Pre-Columbian, Huari/Wari culture, Peru, ca. 6th to 9th century CE. A ritual spoon carved from dark wood, in excellent condition for a wood item of this age. The spoon has a finial in the form of two jaguar heads connected by a huge crested feather headdress that resembles a rainbow. Each jaguar face is carved in the style associated with items made for ritual drug use: huge, round, staring eyes and wide mouths full of bared teeth. Below the jaguar heads is an incised pattern resembling a labyrinth. A smooth triangular handle connects the finial to the ovoid bowl. Size: 6" W x 2" H (15.2 cm x 5.1 cm); 8" H (20.3 cm) on included custom stand.
Spoons like this one were part of the elaborate battery of objects carefully manufactured by ancient Andeans in order to ingest a ground drug known as vilca or huilca, found in southern Peru and Bolivia, and obtained from the beans of the tree Anadenanthera colubrina. We know of them from burials, where they were placed as offerings and perhaps to provision the dead alongside inhalation tubes and other paraphernalia. Feline heads are some of the most iconographically important, and therefore common, artistic themes on drug paraphernalia from this region. They are associated with the use of psychoactive substances that could "transform" a shaman or priest into a feline.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection
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.
Patina from handling and age. Slight encrustation in lower profile areas. One ear may be missing but break is ancient if so.