Pre-Columbian, Peru, Moche II, ca. 300 to 400 CE. An incredible and rare mold-made ceramic figural vessel in the form of a kneeling warrior with incredible stone inlays - lapis and turquoise on a bracelet and at his waist, with lapis and a white marble-like stone for eyes. He holds a staff made of 14 karat gold wrapped around a copper wire, topped with a cylindrical mace head made of amethyst. His body is painted a deep, earthy red color and white, creating a striped shirt and helmet. Two spool-like projections jut from the forehead, each with a spotted surface, perhaps meant to simulate inlaid decorative disks, the skin of a jaguar, or possibly a hallucinogenic mushroom. The helmet is held in place with a strap and has an incised band made to look like a woven leather strap around the forehead. Size: 5.45" L x 4.7" W x 6" H (13.8 cm x 11.9 cm x 15.2 cm)
His face is lifelike, with a large nose and a serious, close-lipped expression. He holds a round shield at his knee that is made to look attached to his wrist, so that his carefully depicted hand is seen resting in relief against his thigh. The kneeling warrior was an important motif for the Moche during this early part of the Moche period. For example, it is believed that over twenty similar warrior figures were found in the high status tombs at Loma Negra, in the Piura River Valley. Others have been found throughout that region. The decoration on his helmet, shield, and shirt most likely relate to which clan he was from, and when originally made, the people who saw the figure would have known his clan, rank, and other identifying details. The creation of this figure and his eventual burial in a tomb tell us that the glorification of war and warriors were essential parts of Moche culture. This figure represents someone who knew that to lose in battle meant not only losing face, but also the very strong possibility that he would become a sacrificial victim, his body dismembered and possibly flayed to please the gods. The presence of stone and metal inlaid and accessorizing this particular figural vessel makes him very rare indeed!
Provenance: ex-private Gill collection, Florida, USA; ex-private Meisenheimer collection, Bel Air, California, USA; ex-Splendors of the World, Hawaii, USA
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.
Upper part of spout/handle has been repaired and restored, with overpainting along the restoration lines. The gold staff is fully present but the gold sheet is partially torn. Otherwise in excellent condition, with incredible remaining pigment and all stone inlays in place.