Pre-Columbian, Bolivia, Lake Titicaca region, Tiahuanaco / Tiwanaku, ca. 400 to 700 CE. A beautiful set of hammered copper appliques covered in gilding in a variety of abstract anthropomorphic forms. A pair of simplistic faces hover in the middle of strange winged forms with globular bodies and cupped cranial extensions, and a spade-shaped body bears a third face with mouth agape and holding a pair of minimalistic arms to its chest. The largest element is comprised of two figures standing, their interior arms meeting and each exterior holding a thin staff. The leftmost figure is a depiction of Paccha Mama, the goddess of the earth exalted by many ancient and modern native Andean peoples. Her radiating coronal crown and rectangular head make her stylized presentation one of great reverence and fear among the ancient Tiahuanaco peoples, for it was believed not sating her will to collect upon sacrifices and offerings would bring about great devastation upon the lands. Custom museum-quality display stand included. Size of largest: 5.3" W x 3.5" H (13.5 cm x 8.9 cm).
The monumental city of Tihuanaco / Tiwanaku in the Bolivian highlands is an incredible 13,000 feet above sea level. Among the 754 recognized World Heritage Sites, Tiwanaku is surrounded by glorious mountain ranges, with Lake Titicaca on the west border. Huge blocks of a stone which are not actually indigenous to the otherwise flat plateau have inspired Tiwanaku's nickname - "the Stonehenge of the Americas".
The Tiahuanaco peoples were infatuated with gold and silver. Many elements of high-society life revolved around the glint of yellow gold or the blinding reflection of silver, so much so that those comprising the upper class were oftentimes buried wearing full, elaborate vestments adorned with dozens if not hundreds of small gold appliques (Young-Sanchez, Margaret. Tiwanaku: Ancestors of the Inca. University of Nebraska Press, Denver Art Museum, 2004, pp. 59-60). Images of anthropomorphic figures, animals, and even masks have been discovered in archaeological sites, particularly in that Palace of the Multi-Colored Rooms which some archaeologists have deemed as one of "the richest Tiwanaku burials known to date" (Eeckhout, Peter, and Lawrence S. Owens. Funerary Practices and Models in the Ancient Andes: the Return of the Living Dead. Cambridge University Press, 2015, p. 151).
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-private Morris collection, New Mexico, USA
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Each item has surface wear and light abrasions commensurate with age as expected, light tarnishing to gilded surfaces and some blue-green patina, slight bending to overall form, and some fading to low-relief details. Each element suspended to stand with thin elastic bands.