Pre-Columbian, North Coast Peru, Moche III to IV, ca. 450 to 650 CE. A fabulous mold-made earthenware portrait stirrup vessel depicting a visage of a young man, likely a shaman or lord, donning a fancy headdress adorned by two avians with curled back necks and beaked visages at either side of the forehead above the temples, large earspools, and the upper torso/arms embellished with cross, spiral, and stepped triangular motifs - all delineated in cream, chocolate brown, and red hues. Even the stirrup is nicely decorated with white striations against a red ground. Size: 5.25" W x 7.125" H (13.3 cm x 18.1 cm)
This would have been a portrait of an important member of Moche society; it is possible - even probable - that there are portraits of him at various ages found in other vessels, as we know of several examples of Moche portrait vessels portraying the same individual at different stages of life! Scholars posit that vessels like this one were traded as emblems of authority around the Moche world before being used as funerary art.
Provenance: ex private St. Simons Island, Georgia, USA collection, purchased August 18, 2012; ex Lost World Artifacts, Acworth, Georgia, USA before 2010
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Stable pressure cracks below back of headdress. Nicks to rim and high pointed areas. Repair to spout with resurfacing over break lines. Normal surface wear commensurate with age.