Pre-Columbian, Northern Peru, Lambayeque Valley, Middle Sican-Lambayeque culture, ca. 900 to 1100 CE. A striking pottery stirrup vessel of rectangular form featuring a long conoid spout with a flared end and a wide bridge handle joining the spout to two ornately decorated figures who carry a third person on a liter, indicating he is likely a noble or king. On thick straight legs and wide feet, the two standing figures wrap their long tubular arms around poles resting on their shoulders that support the third smaller figure's seat. Bare for all but their loincloths, all three sport tall tapered hats decorated with incised vertical and horizontal lines and face paint or masks that feature outlines of their almond-shaped eyes; parallel striations forming triangular shapes across their flat cheeks pointing to their broad, straight closed mouths; vertical lines that drop from their lower lip to the ends of their prominent chins, and horizontal bands traversing their strong nasal bridges. This unique vessel boasts a smooth exterior coated in a lustrous hue of deep chocolate, as if to represent bronze. A well preserved and unique artifact from a past culture! Size: 5.75" L x 3.125" W x 6.75" H (14.6 cm x 7.9 cm x 17.1 cm)
An agriculturally based culture, the Sican people based much of their religion around the weather and believed their main deity was the mediator between them and nature. However, not just anyone could speak to this deity; the social elite acted as intermediaries and, thus, served as a highly important group within Sican society, often honored as a subject in Sican decoration of utilitarian items, such as this vessel. Unfortunately, when a 30 year drought occurred at the beginning of the eleventh century, the Sicans lost faith in their political and religious leadership, ending the practice of venerating the elite with art and beginning the Late Sican period.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-private T. Misenhimer collection, Beverly Hills, California, USA, collected from 1970 to 2008
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Small white collection label bearing number on base. Minor nicks, chips, and scratches commensurate with age. Otherwise, intact and excellent.