Pre-Columbian, Oaxaca, Mexico, Zapotec culture, Monte Alban IV, ca. 600 to 800 CE. A mold-made ceramic incensario in the form of a seated god, probably the god of maize, Pitao Cozobi, although it may be Cocijo, god of rain and lightning. Two corncobs sprout from the massive feathered headdress, with their growth made possibly by the lightning, clouds, and rain, as symbolized by the s-shaped emblems in the feathers. The figure is seated, legs crossed, with muscular arms, and hands resting against the knees. The mask gives the figure a zoomorphic snout. He wears two enormous spooled earrings in addition to his headdress, large bracelets, and a huge pectoral over a skirt. Size: 6.75" L x 9.15" W x 10.75" H (17.1 cm x 23.2 cm x 27.3 cm)
Monte Alban, a city inhabited for over a thousand years before abandonment centuries before the arrival of the Spanish, was a regional power that dominated much of the modern day state of Oaxaca and interacted with other city states in Mesoamerica, like Teotihuacan to its north. Many cultures at this time were producing ceremonial incensarios (censers), but Monte Alban's in particular were often so anthropomorphized that from the front they are difficult to tell from sculpture. This is in strong contrast to incensarios at Teotihuacan, which were highly abstract. Figural censers have been excavated from Monte Alban's high status tombs, where it seems they were placed to leave offerings for the dead.
This example looks very similar to one at the Yale University Art Gallery: https://artgallery.yale.edu/collections/objects/10767
Provenance: ex-private collection of Rochelle Bryant, Los Angeles, California, USA
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Repaired from multiple pieces. Repairs are well done and largely unobtrusive, especially on the forward-facing part of the object. No restoration or overpainting. Very nice remaining detail.