Pre-Columbian, Brazil, Marajoara culture, Arari style, ca. 800 to 1400 CE. A sizable redware ceramic urn with a grand cylindrical body, a flat base, tall walls, and a flared rim. The interior and exterior are covered in burnishing marks that create their smooth surfaces, and the outside of the rim is adorned in carefully incised linear motifs enclosed within repeating trapezoidal frames. The body is further embellished with tall rectangular boxes filled with a pair of tight spirals which share a central body, with some spirals bearing straight lower protrusions, and others featuring one of a curved form. A fabulous example from the Marajoara bearing intricate imagery and elegant stylization. Size: 11.6" W x 11.875" H (29.5 cm x 30.2 cm)
The Marajoara - also known as the Marajo - flourished on Marajo Island, in the mouth of the Amazon River. During the Pre-Columbian era, they built impressive mounds and lived subsistence lifestyles while producing stylistically unique, beautiful pottery like this; today, their descendants like the Shipibo continue to produce ceramics in a similar style. Prior to around 1600, this was a large-scale civilization, contrary to what many western researchers believed of the Amazon - the mounds ranged from 3 to 10 meters in height, and some sites cover more than 10 square kilometers and contain 20 to 30 individual mounds. Urns like this one were buried in the many large cemeteries known from the region, and the soil conditions have preserved the human remains inside them quite well; as of yet, no formal studies have been undertaken on them, representing a potential treasure trove of information that could rewrite what we think of the ancient Amazon Basin.
For an example of stylistically similar incised motifs on a spherical vessel, please see The British Museum, museum number Am1997,Q.425.
Provenance: ex-private New York, New York, USA; ex-Eugene Lions collection, Geneva, Switzerland, collected 1960-2000
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Professional repair and restoration to large areas of rim and upper body, with resurfacing and overpainting along new material and break lines. Light encrustations to interior cavity, with areas of fire-darkening, and minor softening to some finer incised details. Nice earthen deposits throughout, and nice preservation to most incised motifs.