Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A pretty spearhead that was hand-knapped from a mahogany obsidian stone with russet red/orange hues and mottled black inclusions. The spearhead is comprised of a short neck, perhaps for attaching to a pole, and a triangular blade. Obsidian is a volcanic stone that was rare and difficult to obtain, and was revered by ancient Mesoamericans as being among the finest and sharpest material available. A spearhead such as this, was likely an indicator of elite status or wealth, and may have been buried with the owner as a precious object to bring to the afterlife. Size: 7.5" L x 2.75" W (19 cm x 7 cm)
Obsidian - "iztli" to them - fascinated the ancient Mesoamericans; the Aztecs even had a god, Tezcatlipoca, who was the Lord of the Smoking Obsidian Mirror. If you have ever touched or held obsidian - particularly obsidian that has been worked by an artisan into a stone tool - you will understand its appeal - its smoky color, smooth surface that is cool to the touch, and shockingly sharp edges. In a world without metal, this sharp quality was especially important for ceremonies of ritual bloodletting and human sacrifice. The difficult-to-obtain material came from volcanic sources in the Sierra Madre of Mexico and in Guatemala, was traded hundreds of miles to meet the demand for sharp cutting tools and ritual objects, and then was struck using a deer antler or small hammer stone to form blades and other shapes. The Colima buried their dead in shaft tombs deep below their residences, alongside the remains of their ancestors. These tombs were richly furnished with ceramic figures, vessels, offerings, and precious stone items of jade and obsidian.
Provenance: private Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA collection; ex-Dr. David Harner collection, Springdale, Arkansas, USA, acquired between the 1950s and 1960s
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Losses to tip of neck with chips and nicks to peripheries not from knapping process. Nice obsidian coloration and light mineral deposits.