Peru | A Rare Recuay Gilt Scepter | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, A Rare Recuay Gilt Scepter
This scepter is very rare with an unusual motif of three animals standing on three flayed feline skins. The central animal is a deer flanked by an unknown four-legged animal. The shaft of the scepter has two channels attached by a series of triangular soldered stock. Each channel has a suspension hole towards the top. This scepter must have belonged to a high status individual as its manufacture is very elaborate and technically sophisticated. Only one other known similar Recuay scepter is illustrated in Kultur Von Peru by Max Schmidt, pg. 392. The accompanying two tupus with decorated tops (longer and shorter) each have a different motif.
The longer tupu is decorated with a band of four stooping animals in low relief, each with a serpent emanating from its head. The inside of the the longer tupu’s upper cup is decorated with a frowning face, perhaps a mask. This is one of the largest known intact tupus. The smaller tupu has a rich gilt surface and is decorated with a band of two face masks. Inside the upper cup of the small tupu is the head of the same animal flanking the deer on the scepter. Both tupus have finials that are decorated with both an outside band and an inside head. The larger one has a band of 3 double headed serpents with a fox head inside. The smaller one has a band of a double-headed arched feline and a face inside.
Four tupus excavated at Pashash, the earliest known Recuay site, are illustrated in The Art and Archaeology of PSAHASH by Terence Grieder, figs. 114-117, and fig. 7. These tupus were originally sold by Alan Lapiner in the early 1970s along with a classic Recuay vessel of a lord flanked by arched felines on each side.
Dimensions: Scepter Length 9" x Width 3" Longer Tupu Length 8 ½ x diameter 1 ½” Shorter tupu: Length: 7 ½” x diameter 1"
Peru | Chancay Painted Cotton Panel with Four Abstract Figures and Symbols | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chancay Painted Cotton Panel with Four Abstract Figures and Symbols
The cotton panel is painted in blue, tan and orange. The drawing can be interpreted as 3 woven panels or tunics with fringes, each decorated with different abstract designs. On each side of the central panel are two abstract creatures with curly tails on an orange ground.
Peru | Chancay weavers basket with Implements | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chancay weavers basket with Implements
This is a large basket, made of woven rush and contains 40 spindel whorls with different color arrangements. 18 with yellow and orange knotched ceramic whorls, 8 with white, yellow and orange whorls, and 8 with spun cotton thread. There are 2 whorls with
Peru | Chavin carved wood effigy of a shaman | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chavin carved wood effigy of a shaman
Carved wooden effigy of a standing shaman holding a flute or serpent in front. The shaman has puckered lips as if he is whistling and appears in a trance like state. He is wearing a headdress, v neck tunic and belt with two long devices hanging down along the outside of each leg. On the back of the belt is a "U" shaped device of unknown use. From the top of the head emeniates a bone tube which has been broken. A similar shaman's face is illustrated in PRECOLUMBIAN ART OF SOUTH AMERICA by Alan Lapiner fig. 13. Wooden effigy figures are extremely rare and do not survive well. The left leg was broken off and re-attached and the evidence of age was apparent.
Peru | Chavin Gold Crown With Embossed Design | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chavin Gold Crown With Embossed Design
Chavin artists hammered gold sheets over wooden molds to make crowns and pectorals for the ruling elite. This crown was cut down and repaired in antiquity, but it originally had two profile faces on the sides and two frontal images of the feline deity so often seen in Chavin art. A cuff from the same grave lot is on display at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts with faces separated by diagonal designs. This crown is published in Jose Antonio Lavalle "Oro Del Antiguo Peru" (1992: pl. 10). Samuel K. Lothrop was the first scholar to analyze gold crowns and plaques that came from two tomb lots in Chongoyape, "Gold Artifacts of Chavin Style" (American Antiquity 1951, 3: 226 - 240). His work and other tomb finds are reviewed by Richar L. Burger in "Chavin and The Origins of Andean Civilization" (1992: 204 - 206) A number of crowns similar to this one are known to have come from these tombs, which also yielded gold cuffs, ear spools, nose pendants, chest plaques and tweezers. Examined and approved by Robert Sonin and Henri Reichlin in 1976. Ex-collection Marcel Ebnother, Switzerland.
Peru | Chavin Stirrup Spout Portrait Vessel with Red Face and White Tears | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chavin Stirrup Spout Portrait Vessel with Red Face and White Tears
There are few published, authenticated, Chavin ceramic portrait heads and this is the only known one of its kind with post -fire red and white pigment. The face has an unusually sensitive expression and delicately incised black and white tears that radiate outwards. There is a similar Chavin portrait vessel in the Linden Museum- Stuttgardt. Another Chavin portrait in the Larco collection and illustrated in THE SPIRIT OF ANCIENT PERU (pg.81) also has similar facial features: small ears, slanted eyes, small nose and thin lips - but in addition also has wrinkles. Author Richard Burger identifies this portrait as an elderly person. It is possible that the red-faced portrait is also a depiction of the same person that the Cupisnique people may have revered.
Peru | Chavin Stirrup Spout Vessel | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chavin Stirrup Spout Vessel
This is an early and characteristic vessel from Cupisnique in the north coast of Peru, including the spiral design and comb texturing. A similar one is illustated in Donnan, "Ceramics of Ancient Peru" (1992: 29).
Peru | Chavin Stirrup Spout Vessel in the Form of a House | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chavin Stirrup Spout Vessel in the Form of a House
An unusual architectural motif of a round house which could have been a temple or ceremonial center. Round stone burial towers are found in the early Tiwanaku culture. This may have been what they were seeing and influenced their designs in Boliva.
Peru | Chavin Stirrup Spout Vessel in the form of the Pijuayo Fruit | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chavin Stirrup Spout Vessel in the form of the Pijuayo Fruit
This Chavin Stirrup Spout Vessel has been shaped to mimic a ripe branch of Pijuayo (Peach Palm) fruits. Each individual fruit is red and semi-circular. It was mainly eaten after boiling in salt water for two hours, and has the taste and texture of a chestnut. Ancient Peruvians placed high value on the fruits and vegetables that surrounded them. To express this admiration of the transcendence that the plants in their daily life had, they often made works of art in tribute to them and the gods that made them. Similar fruit inspired vessels to this one are found in "Plantas Alimenticias en el Antiguo Peru" from pages 145 - 160; 1985. The peach palm was especially revered for its hard wood, which was used to carve spears. (The Ethnobotany of Pre-Columbian Peru pg. 28,1961).
Peru | Chavin Tembladera Style Stirrup Spout Vessel Decorated with Sea Lion Deity | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chavin Tembladera Style Stirrup Spout Vessel Decorated with Sea Lion Deity
The animal appears to a splayed sea lion with flippers. The animal deity at the top is in a protective posture, as if birthing or protecting its young. All four sides are decorated with a wave-like element in high relief
Peru | Chimú Gold 29" Necklace of Large Hollow Beads | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chimú Gold 29" Necklace of Large Hollow Beads
The Chimú inherited a taste for hollow gold bead necklaces from their Moche predecessors. In both cultures, each bead was cast and hammered in two halves that were then joined together by soldering. In the Chimú technique, the edges of the two halves were nested together. These beads are extremely light with a greater percentage of silver than gold. They used depletion gilding to bring the gold to the surface by using of heats and salts. This allowed the Chimu to make the gold available for a large and growing ruling class. Private Florida collection prior to 1980.
Peru | Chimú Necklace of Mother of Pearl on Original Cotton Line | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chimú Necklace of Mother of Pearl on Original Cotton Line
There are 50 matched mother-of-pearl elements each with a single suspension hole starting at the top and exiting from the side and sewn on a continuous strand around a double cotton cord. Similar mother-of-pearl tab shaped beads are on a pectoral in the American Museum of Natural History and illustrated in THE INKA EMPIRE AND ITS ANDEAN ORIGINS by Craig Morris, pl 131.
Peru | Chimu silver balance with 2 warriors | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chimu silver balance with 2 warriors
A rare Chimu silver balance beam decorated with two bag carrying individuals followed by a perched bird. This depiction could explain how the balance beams were used by exchanging feathers of different birds of equal weight. Trade across long distances of exotic materials was a key element in the ancient economy. The balance beam is made of both cast and soldered elements. It is true soldered filigree work of curls decorating the edge. The individuals and birds were cast. It is also extremely rare to find balance beams in silver, as most of them are of wood or bone. There is a single suspension hole in the top bar center and one hole for a net on each side of the lower bar.
Peru | Chimu Tapestry Shirt with Pelican Narrative | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chimu Tapestry Shirt with Pelican Narrative
This is a complete tapestry woven shirt with sleeves constructed of cotton warps and camelid wefts in red, brown, olive and white on an ochre ground. It depicts a mythical marine narrative with two pelicans carrying a litter bearing a trophy head in the form of a skate with a face. Litters were considered a prestigious mode of transportation on the North coast. The presence of this image within the narrative reinforces the importance of the individual who wore this shirt. There is a pelican with a crescent headdress on top of each litter. Each of the four panels displays the same scene in reverse colors. This shirt is illustrated in Rowe, Ann, "Costumes and Featherwork of the Lords of Chimor" published by The Textile Museum, 1984, fig 103. Formally in the collection of the Southwest Museum in California.
Peru | Chimu Wood Mirror Back depicting a lord | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Chimu Wood Mirror Back depicting a lord
A large and well carved wood mirror back with a dignitary in full regaila wearing a nose ring and a large crescent shaped headdress. His face is also decorated with a tattoo. There is original cotton string bound to the handle. The pyrite mirror in the back is ancient but not original to the piece. A similar elaborate mirror back from the Chimu is illustrated in Alan Lapiner, "Pre-Columbian Art of South America" (1976: #625) That particular mirror was sold at Sotheby's auction May 19, 1993 for $30,000. My mirror was examined by Robert Sonin for authenticity May 25, 2006 Photo roll-out #3305 and #3306.
Peru | Colonial Kero in the Form of a Feline Head | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Colonial Kero in the Form of a Feline Head
Originally the Inca used these carved vessels for ceremonial and festive occasions. This tradition lasted through the late 17th century. Shaped keros were introduced in the Colonial period and their design is limited to 3 specific types of animal motifs: alpaca, llama, feline. They were also made to resemble Inca lords. Keros were made in pairs; and the pair to this Kero is at the Yale Peabody Museum and is illustrated in “Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas” on p.212. The vessel may represent an ocelot rather than a jaguar or puma because of the pelage markings, which indicate that it represents a tropical forest feline. The back of the kero is carved and painted with a scene depicting a battle scene between Inca troops and tropical forest warriors known as the Chunchus - the last group that the Inca conquered. The waxy colored inlay pigments, known as mopa-mopa, came from Pasto, Colombia and the carved wood is mainly from the Escallonia genus of shrubs and trees. A similar kero is illustrated in “MACHU PICCHU: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas,” on pg. 212. This kero was formerly in the collection of Nelson Rockefeller and was sold at Sotheby's on November 5, 1980, in lot 75.
Dimensions: Height: 8 3/4" Widest point on top: 6".
Peru | Colonial Qero with floral motifs in registers | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Colonial Qero with floral motifs in registers
Decorated in five registers with flowers, the pair to this vessel is in the Museo Inka, Universadid Nacional del Cuzco and illustrated in Ochoa et. al. "Qeros: Arte Inka en vasos ceremoniales" (1998: 267). Some were made in pairs, particularly in the Colonial period. Qeros were festive drinking cups that Inca rulers, governors and other state officials used in ceremonies, and they were often gifted from one lord to another. Hans Monheim collection - Aachen Germany since 1950's.
Dimensions: Height 6 1/2: x Width: 5 " across the top
Peru | Colorful Chancay Gauze with Abstract Faces | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Colorful Chancay Gauze with Abstract Faces
This is a very unusual gauze in blue, red, and saffron colors. It is woven in two panels and depicts three bands of large abstract faces, bordered by step clefs. In the opposite orientation the faces appear as skates and frogs.
Peru | Early Chancay wood painted circular headdress ornament. with red sun face | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Early Chancay wood painted circular headdress ornament. with red sun face
A well painted wood disc depicting a sun with serpents heads emanating from the center circle. The painted surface is stucco-like and in excellent condition. The disc has an ancient repair of a clean horizontal break through the center. There are four attachment holes in the center as well, which implies that it was worn either as a headdress ornament or a pectoral. This is illustrated in CHANCAY. The Merrin Galleries have illustrated a painted textile with the same sun face motif and emanating serpents on a poster for an exhibition.
Peru | Early Middle Horizon Mother of Pearl Round Ear Spool Front with 13 Petals | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Early Middle Horizon Mother of Pearl Round Ear Spool Front with 13 Petals
This is a very large piece for a mother of pearl carving and must have come from a very large shell. The 13 petal incised design does not represent a specific flower, but instead is an abstract form depicting a floral shape. The center hole with incised ring is typical of Late Chavin/Early Moche iconography.
Peru | Early Moche Gold Owl Ornament or Necklace Element | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Early Moche Gold Owl Ornament or Necklace Element
This ornament portrays a stylized horned owl. The owl was revered by the ancient people for its special characteristics, such as silent flight, strong talons, and its ability to rotate its head 180 degrees. This gold owl has two suspension holes to the lower rear, which would have allowed it to hang looking downward. It is constructed from flat pieces of sheet gold that were hammered and beaten into repoussé parts, and then soldered together. Such three-dimensional forms were characteristic of the Transitional phase of gold work on the North Coast after the collapse of the Chavín culture. The eyes are made from Spondylus beads.
Dimensions: Height: 1 1/4" X 1 1/4"/ Weight: 10 grams
Peru | Early Moche/Vicus Head of a Tucan with Dangles | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Early Moche/Vicus Head of a Tucan with Dangles
This object is quite rare and is from Northern Peru, by the Maranon river valley where other Vicus style objects have come from. It is fashioned from a heavy sheet, bent, soldered, and has dangles. It would have fit front and center onto a headdress, attached using the tabs at the back. The rods that hold the dangles are soldered, along with the bottom of the beak. The eyes are soldered rings with turquoise inlays. A similar object is illustrated in the GOLD OF PERU, Mujica Gaillo collection.
Peru | Early Nazca/Late Wari Tie- Dye Patchwork Rectangular Bag | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Early Nazca/Late Wari Tie- Dye Patchwork Rectangular Bag
This tie dye rectangular bag with discontinuous interlocking patchwork was probably used for carrying feathers. The bag was made from surplus squares left over from a larger mantle, utilizing the scaffold technique. Collected by Gunnolf Bjorkman who worked in Lima in the 1960's and settled in Buenos Aires.
Peru | Early Nazca/Sihuas Feather Tunic With the Eight Pointed Star On an Orange Ground | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Early Nazca/Sihuas Feather Tunic With the Eight Pointed Star On an Orange Ground
This tunic with an eight-pointed star motif, also referred to as the Radiant Sun, is similar to other published tunics. The front part is a complete star with assorted color blocks of blue feathers. The back of the tunic has only two blue stripes on an orange ground with a fringe of turquoise macaw tail feathers. The blue feathers do not contain blue pigment, but instead are natural prisms which brightly reflect the color of the sky. I believe that all the feathers are from the Scarlet, Yellow, and Blue Macaws. Tunics with similar motifs are illustrated in TEXTILE ART OF PERU, 1989, L.L. Editores, Lima. pages145,-147 & 163. Usually tunics with an eight-pointed star motif are from the Nazca region, from the South coast of Peru. This tunic was found in the Sihuas region near the city of Arequipa and predates the Nazca by 500 years. The backing fabric is fragile and needs proper conservation.
Dimensions: Length 56" x Width 35" (142cm X 88.9cm)
Peru | Five Moche Bi -Metallic Nose Ornaments | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Five Moche Bi -Metallic Nose Ornaments
These ornaments are excellent examples of the Moche's ability to use depletion gilding and vary the surface area with both gold and silver decoration. The Moche believed that metal was magical, and that bringing out the silver and gold colors to the surface proved this. A similar nose ornament is illustrated in ANTIGUO ORO DEL PERU, pg. 15. Private collector, Florida, prior to 1980.
Peru | Huari bone carved "Attelatel" handle with seated feline and deer | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Huari bone carved "Attelatel" handle with seated feline and deer
This was the grip for a spear thrower, with its original tie hole attachement. On the base of the feline is a deer wtih its antlers. This is a common motif throughout antiquity starting with the Sythicans of Russia where a lion is always attacking deer.
Peru | Inca Gold Hollow Llama | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Inca Gold Hollow Llama
These Llamas, along with other miniatures in gold, silver and spondylus were found at high altitude sacrificial burials sites, used in a ceremony known as the Capac Hucha ceremony to praise the Inca. A similar llama is illustrated in ANCIENT AMERICANS, Art From Sacred Landscapes p. 362. This hollow llama was assembled from hammered gold sheets which were soldered together. One seam can be easily seen along the underside. Ex-Jan Mitchell collection, prior to 1980.
Peru | Inca Gold Pin Topped with Bird Perched on Corn Cob | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Inca Gold Pin Topped with Bird Perched on Corn Cob
Gold from the Inca period is rare as most has been melted down by the Conquistadores. These pins are mostly found made of silver and were used to pin a garment closed. What appears to be a simple pin is complicated in its manufacture. The pin with the corn cob is cast. The bird is made of a separate stamped sheet, designed head to head, bent, and soldered to itself. The bird was then fitted over the top to appear as one piece. Private Florida collection, prior to 1980. A similar piece appears in "Kunst Und Kultur von Peru" (Art and Culture of Peru) by Max Schmidt, p.396.
Peru | Inca Tiana Carved Wooden Seat | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Inca Tiana Carved Wooden Seat
Tianas were originally made from a single block of wood during Inca times (1250-1500AD). These wooden seats and other specified goods were limited for use by the Inca class. Tianas continued to be used well after the Spanish conquest. A well known Tiana survives in the Berlin Museum.
Peru | Inca Wood Polychrome Kero Incised with Spider and Geometric Designs | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Inca Wood Polychrome Kero Incised with Spider and Geometric Designs
This kero is an extremely fine example of incising technique. The overall surface is incredibly intricate. The incision lines mimic the natural geometry imposed by the repeated motif of an abstract spider moving vertically on the upper and lower portions of the vase. The creature's body is highlighted with red, yellow and green paint. The central band is accented with patterned bands of diamonds and circles and squares in red, yellow, green, black and white. The rim and base are accented with simple green bands. Such great attention to linear detail and mastery of the incising technique suggests that this is an earlier kero (possibly 16th century). Examples illustrating the incising technique can be seen on p.54 of 'QEROS: Arte Inka en Vasos Ceremoniales', by Jorge Flores Ochoa. This book is part of the Coleccion Arte Y Tesoros Del Peru.
Peru | Large fragment to a Wari tunic in Unusual Colors with Abstract Monkey Faces | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Large fragment to a Wari tunic in Unusual Colors with Abstract Monkey Faces
The fragment consists of two large sections that join, making it almost 60 inches in length. The design is of opposing monkeys in profile. Both profile monkey faces also combine to create a third, larger monkey face in two colors. The monkey’s tail turns into a step fret motif, typical of Wari tunics. The thread count is high, at around 120 per inch. The warps are of cotton and the wefts are of fine alpaca. Cotton warps suggests that the tunic was woven on the coast.
Dimensions: Overall length is 60" x Width of 20" Section A Length: 30" x Width: 20" Section B Length: 30" x Width: 20'
Peru | Large Wari Carved Wood Lime Container Representing a Decapitator | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Large Wari Carved Wood Lime Container Representing a Decapitator
This large wood lime container is carved in the form of a classic Wari decapitator holding a trophy head in his right hand. These containers were used to store lime, which assists the body in metabolizing cocaine alkaloids from ground coca leaves. The opposite side would have had him holding a tumi knife. The decapitator is wearing an elaborate costume with a puma mask and a tapestried tunic with feline profile faces. Below the mask is an elaborate pectoral of trapezoidal plaques. One half of the container is missing, and the inside reveals a storage chamber. The puma is elaborately decorated with classic Tiahuanaco motifs from the Gateway of the Sun. Evidence of inlays in the eye sockets exist. The container portrays a major sculpture in wood for this period. Another lime container in the National Museum of Copenhagen of the same height, 5.75" is illustrated in "Art of Empire, Museum of Primitive Art" - fig. 80.m. There is a chapter in the Peruvian publication Los Dios del Antiguo Peru - Dioses De Pachacamac El Idolo Y el Templo, pages 159-175, which discusses a carved wood idol on a staff. This staff in the book has many elements that are similar to this lime container, specifically the arched serpent and profile face.
Peru | Large Wari wooden lime container in the form of a seated man | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Large Wari wooden lime container in the form of a seated man
This large Wari wooden lime container is in the form of a kneeling figure carrying an axe in one hand and a group of darts in the other. He wears a circular hat which is also the lid of the container and a pair of earspools.
Peru | Late Chavin Hammered and Soldered Gold pendant with a Feline Head | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Late Chavin Hammered and Soldered Gold pendant with a Feline Head
This is a rare Chavin gold work that has been soldered - the ears to the head and the head to the body. There are two sets of suspension holes on each side of the mouth. There are two more suspension holes for danglers by each paw. There is repousse depicting the mouth and nose and on each paw. Estate of Bill Simmons, acquired at Sotheby's Sale # 7996, May 2004, lot 107.
Dimensions: Height: 7cm x Width: 8.3cm Wt. 24.3 grams. XRF Au 85%, Ag 13.3%, Cu 1.08%.
Peru | Late Nasca Gold Cuff with Embossed Faces | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Late Nasca Gold Cuff with Embossed Faces
A hammered and repousse gold cuff decorated with two rows of faces, probably masks. I have not seen many cuffs embossed as most art simple wrought gold or occasionally with a geometric pattern. These embossed masks are quite rare. There are two tie holes on each edge. Similar Nasca gold cuffs are illustrated in the THE GOLD OF PERU, MUJICA GAILLO COLLECTION. Ex-Collection Jean Eugene Lions, St. Tropez since 1970's.
Peru | Late Paracas Needlework Border with Hummingbirds and Cactus Flowers | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Late Paracas Needlework Border with Hummingbirds and Cactus Flowers
The border is composed of cross loop needle-knitted hummingbirds sucking the flowering cactus in alternating color arrangements. There are ten basic colors with additional tones to include blues, gray, greens, gold, pinks, purples, reds, tans and white. Each bird's head has a long beck, different colored eyes, a slender body, and a wide tail. The cacti are made in five parts, from the upper flower to the lower flower’s broad cactus leaves. The Nasca people are considered to have the most colorful costumes in all antiquity. The richly colored weavings are often perfectly preserved, having been buried in the driest dessert in the world. Nasca borders and fringes would surround an entire mantle or tunic, which could be many yards in length. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has only two short segments depicting hummingbirds. The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. has a similar border that is only 21” in length, which is illustrated in EARLY NASCA NEEDLEWORK by Alan Sawyer, image 116. Other early Nasca needle knit birds are in the Met Museum. Formerly in the collection of Justin Kerr, New York, prior to 1970.
Dimensions: Length 40" x Height 3" Frame dimensions: Length 42" x Height: 9"
Peru | Loma Negra Gilt Copper Pair of Hoverflies | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Loma Negra Gilt Copper Pair of Hoverflies
The flies are examples of a highly skilled gilding technique over copper. The construction is of tab and hammered and shaped parts to create a three-dimensional body. This was preferred in Peru over lost wax casting. Loma Negra Royal tombs were found in Northern Peru in the 1960's. The largest holdings of this material are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other examples of critters are illustrated in PRE-COLUMBIAN ART of South America by Alan Lapiner, fig 376.
There is a Loma Negra fly in the Met Museum ref 1981.459.28 in poor condition. Hoverflies are among the largest flies and have colorful bodies and are harmless. They often imitate bees or wasps as a survival technique to appear dangerous to their predators. The Peruvian favored animals that metamorphose, (eggs, large, maggots to flies) as proof that humans can transcend into spirits. Since hoverflies have colorful yellow and black bodies they connect with gold of the sun. These flies are considered large for Loma Negra creatures and have no apparent function.
Dimensions: Length 4 1/2" x Width with wings 4" Height :1 1/2"
Peru | Moche 4 Stirrup Spout Vessel painted with a Strombus Monster | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche 4 Stirrup Spout Vessel painted with a Strombus Monster
The vessel is finely drawn with reddish brown slip on a cream ground and depicts a Strombus galeatus monster coming out of its shell on both sides. The monster has a long curving tail and an exposed a front leg. Christopher Donnan describes this monster in MOCHE ART OF PERU, pg. 64. From the estate of Philip L. Herman prior to 1970.
Peru | Moche Cast Copper Gilt Handled Mirror Surrounded by Ten Pumas | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche Cast Copper Gilt Handled Mirror Surrounded by Ten Pumas
Hand-held mirrors are rare from any Peruvian cultures, and those few that are known are carved from wood, except one other gilt copper one that is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mirrors were important objects for high status individuals and symbolized the power of the sun. Both mirrors were found at the Loma Negra site of far North Peru, excavated in the 1960’s, and were made by the same workshop. The mirrors have different themes: the Met’s with birds, and this one with felines.
Both mirrors were constructed in the same manner - cast frames are mechanically attached to the handle with a separate sheet of copper backing to hold pyrite mirror fragments in place. The Met’s mirror has lost most of its original gilding. This mirror has more of the original gilt surface intact and has a reconstructed mirror of ancient pyrite, whereas the Met’s mirror was restored with wax and coated with silver foil. The felines surrounding the frame were individually modeled and cast as one with the frame, an extremely difficult technical accomplishment. Each puma has carved turquoise eyes. The few other known mirrors with handles which have been found were carved from wood. There are no other known mirrors with metal frames according to Dr. Christopher Donnan formerly at UCLA and the world expert on Moche Art.
Dimensions: Height: 9 1/4"(23.5cm) x Width: 5"(12.6cm)
Peru | Moche Copper Spatula of a Warrior-lord with staff and shield | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche Copper Spatula of a Warrior-lord with staff and shield
A warrior lord is spledidly dressed in full regalia wearing a helmet with feather crescent headdress, woven tunic, semi-circular nose ring and ear ornaments. He holds the standard long war club and round shield, such as appear in scenes of battle on fineline painted vessels. A small feline is splayed across the figure's back, wearing a necklace or belt of small owl heads. This work was cast in one piece in the lost-wax process. Spatulas were symbols of power for the high status Moche and were used in coca rituals to communicate with the ancestors and spirits of the otherworld. There is a suspension loop under the upper platform to be hung from a belt or the neck.
Peru | Moche Cylindrical Container with 6 Decapitators in High Relief | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche Cylindrical Container with 6 Decapitators in High Relief
The container has a cover with an incised drawing of a weapons bundle. It’s a very rare object and is constructed with a complicated double wall technique. The outer wall was embossed by hammering the thin copper sheet against a wooden form carved with the figures. The inner wall is a plane sheet and annealed to the outer sheet and hammered around a form in the shape of bottom disc.
Dimensions: Height: 2 1/4" x Diamerter: 3" Circumfrence: : 10"
Peru | Moche Gold Tweezers With Embossed Large Eared Bat Face | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche Gold Tweezers With Embossed Large Eared Bat Face
Pincers have been found from as early as the Vicus period (pre-Moche), circa 300 BC and were thought to be used to pluck facial hair. Few are known from the Moche period and most of the pincers that have been found were from the Chimu and Inca periods. This particular pincer has an embossed face of a bat with fanged teeth. This pincer was made from one hammered sheet of high carat gold and embossed twice on a carved wood form of a bat face and bent in the middle. There is also a suspension hole in the middle. The blades of the pincer flare out in the form of a Moche back flap. Ex. collection Eduwardo Aldunate, Santiago, Chile-prior to 1970.
Peru | Moche Grayware Rattle Cup with the Decapitator | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche Grayware Rattle Cup with the Decapitator
A well modeled portrait of Ai Apaec wearing his characteristic puma ring headdress with its tail incised on the back of the vessel. The perforated base of the cup contains clay beads which make the vessel rattle with movement. Ai Apaec was an old wrinkled god associated with war and sacrifice, hence his other titles as the Decapitator and Wrinkle Face.
Peru | Moche I - II Effigy Vessel of the Decapitator Ai Apaec | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche I - II Effigy Vessel of the Decapitator Ai Apaec
This is an early version of the Decapitator deity known as Ai Apaec. The deity always wears a feline headdress, but early versions also show him with a turban. This headdress not only has a puma skin but also a Plume of feathers represented by the conical form ontop of his head. He also wears a lovely Pectoral with individual plaques sewn onto a leather backing. The Decapitator is one of the earliest supernaturals in the Moche ceramic sequence, and he frequently carries a tumi knife and a decapitated head. The Decapitator continued into later cultures, notably the Wari and the Chimu. Formerly in a European collection since the 1970s.
Peru | Moche I Blackware Architectural Model Depicting An Adobe Temple Site | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche I Blackware Architectural Model Depicting An Adobe Temple Site
This model is like one now in the National Museum of Archaeology in Lima, Peru (#c-54613). It was originally drawn as it might have been seen in ancient times by artist Alejandro Gonzales in 1936. This drawing is published in ARCHITECTURAL VESSELS OF THE Moche, by Juliet Wiersema, p.3, University of Austin Press. According to Dr. Christopher Donnan, a Moche scholar, the Moche often produced nearly identical ceramics with the same theme. From the estate of Philip L. Herman and collected in the 1950's -1960's.
Dimensions: Width: 6" x Length 4 1/2" x Height: 8"
Peru | Moche I Ceramic stirrup-spout effigy of a seated toad in buff with red throat | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche I Ceramic stirrup-spout effigy of a seated toad in buff with red throat
This stirrup spout vessel depicting a life-like frog/toad attests to the Moche artist's fond awareness of the natural world. Such careful attention and adeptness at naturalistic portrayals of animal images is common of Early Moche ceramics. Frogs have bulbous eyes, strong, long webbed feet, and slimy skin, while toads have stubby bodies, warty, dry skin, different chest cartliage and paratoid glands behind the eyes. Their large eyes are defined with a ridge. Also, toads do not have teeth, while frogs have upper teeth. This rotund fellow with his alert wide-eyed gaze and attentive posture seems all too ready to ambush an unsuspecting fly. It is slip painted in cream and the head tilts upward, exposing a rosy orange gullet beneath the determined, down-turned mouth. Images of frogs and toads (anurans) are commonly interpreted in the art of many Pre-Columbian cultures. Because of their musical croaking performances after heavy rains, frogs and toads are associated with water, vegetation , fertility, and in some cases (usually toads), toxicity. The cyclic quality of their development --the change from the fish-like tadpole to adult frog, allude to a natural affiliation with mythical concepts of transformation. Similar examples are illustrated in "Pre-Columbian Art of South America", by Alan Lapiner, fig. 281, p129, and in "Moche Art of Peru", by Christopher B. Donnan, fig. 81, p.57. as well as in Ceramics of Ancient Peru by Donnan, 1992, UCLA, p. 128.
Peru | Moche III Ceramic Vessel in the Form of a Gabled House | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche III Ceramic Vessel in the Form of a Gabled House
This house or religious center is detailed with a gabled roof and stucco decoration with painted spears. A priest is portrayed in the doorway in full regalia. Ex Collection Of Sue Tishman, prior to 1970.
Peru | Moche III Fineline Vessel Depicting a Coca Ceremony | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche III Fineline Vessel Depicting a Coca Ceremony
A fine example depicting the coca ritual. On one side we see 4 seated men holding the traditional gourd lime containers and administrating lime to extract the coca from the leaf. On the other side we see a figure with hands clasped holding a coca leaf bag and surrounded by bats, dark balls, and the Bicephalus Arc (double-headed serpent) which symbolize psychic flight and the praying for rain. There are three other known examples of the Coca-ritual under the Bicephalus Arc in Pre-Colombian art. One is in the Linden Museum in Stuttgardt and two others are in the collection of the Museo Arqueologico Raphfael Larco Herrera, Lima. All three are discussed in an article THE PRIESTS OF THE BICEPHALUS ARC by Santiago Uceda and published in THE ART AND ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE MOCHE, pg. 153-178, University of Texas Press 2008 . Formerly in the collection of Benno Mattel and exhibited at the British Consulate in Punta Del Este. Subsequently sold to a US collector in the US where it remained for ten years. Rollout drawing in Moche Archive #157.
Peru | Moche III/IV Redware Mold Made Jar Depicting a Dignitary | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche III/IV Redware Mold Made Jar Depicting a Dignitary
The figure is wearing a head cloth underneath a Puma head ring with straps ending in tassels and large paws, with its polka-dot tail down his back. He also wears large ear spools which denote his status. He holds his hands to his chest below a semi-circular breast ornament. These vessels were made in a two-part mold, one for the front and the other for the back.
Peru | Moche IV fine line ceramic stirrup spout vessel of Serpents | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche IV fine line ceramic stirrup spout vessel of Serpents
A large stirrup spout vessel painted with four undulating serpents facing upwards, one in each quadrant in red/brown on a beige ground. The serpent represents rebirth, the shedding of its skin repeating as much as four times, perhaps for each season. Stirrup spout vessels were used to hold ceremonial corn beer and the spout allowed the air to enter one channel while the liquid was able to pour through the other channel.
Peru | Moche Portrait Vessel of lord with a puma headdress | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche Portrait Vessel of lord with a puma headdress
Reddish brown ceramic, open top, portrait vessel of a man wearing ear spools and a headdress with a puma head motif and two enormous front paws emerging from the sides. There are traces of spotted, beige slip decoration on the ear spools and spots on the headdress. This vessel is significantly larger than most portrait heads which average slightly more than half life-size, and it is in good condition. Portrait vessels play a significant role in Moche art as forerunners of a period of realism that followed them. It is believed that portraits were of powerful leaders, and that their presence in a grave signified an honor bestowed upon the deceased. A very similar portrait vessel is illustrated in "Ancient Peruvian Ceramics: The Nathan Cummings Collection," by Alan Sawyer (1996: pl: 37). Another, perhaps of the same person, is illustrated in "Moche Portraits from Ancient Peru" by Christopher Donnan (2004: fig.: 4.27).
Peru | Moche Stirrup Spout Redware Vessel effigy vessel of a Tadpole | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Moche Stirrup Spout Redware Vessel effigy vessel of a Tadpole
The tadpole is identified by the gullet under the mouth and long tail. This tadpole has highlights in buff slip over the eyes, on the gills on each side behind the eyes, on the nostrils, and under the mouth. The tadpole has human fingers and toes. This effigy is holds a large sphere to the chest and is crouches on a rectangular vessel. Very good condition. Cracks repaired at elbows.
Peru | Nasca Bridgespout Vessel Painted with 23 Foxes On White Ground | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Nasca Bridgespout Vessel Painted with 23 Foxes On White Ground
A late Nasca period vessel, T/L tested, verified as 1650 years old by CIRAM Labs. Prof. Donald Proulx in his Sourcebook of Nasca Ceramic Iconography (pg. 141) describes the Andean Fox with the following characteristics, drawn in profile with elongated snout, pointed ears, whiskers and thick black tail. Deiter Eislab Illustrated 5 ceramics with similar painted foxes in ALTPERUANISCHE KULTUREN NAZCAII, plate 6-9.
Peru | Nasca Slit Tapestry Band with 8 Faces of The Proliferous Being on Red Ground | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Nasca Slit Tapestry Band with 8 Faces of The Proliferous Being on Red Ground
All eight faces are in the same orientation and alternate between two color arrangements: those with burgundy faces and those with red-orange faces. Each of the faces has a headdress with extensions, a mouth mask with extensions, and fingers holding a horizontal staff. One of the few Nasca tunics which depicts similar face bands and is same width is illustrated in TEIDOS MILENARIOS - ANCIENT PERUVIAN TEXTILES by Jose De Lavalle, page 264-5, ISBN# 9972-717-01-1.
Peru | Nazca Border decorated with twenty-one abstract feline dieties | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Nazca Border decorated with twenty-one abstract feline dieties
A Nazca band decorated with seven abstract feline deities images alternating in colors of blue, yellow, and maroon on a red ground. The image is facing up with a hind leg and tail outlined in black. A similar image is illustrated in Ancient Peruvian Textiles from the Collection of the Textile Museum, plate 17.
Peru | Nazca Ceramic Bowl with puma head wearing a mouth mask | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Nazca Ceramic Bowl with puma head wearing a mouth mask
This large and colorful bowl is decorated with a feline type face wearing a fanged mouth mask with flaring whiskers. The nose, ears and chin are subtly raised. The forehead is decorated with a succession of chevron stripes and the back of the vessel is decorated with two series of semi-circular motifs floating on a band of warm dark brown. The shape of the vessel is globular and the color scheme is maroon, sienna, cream, tan and black. Trophy heads are represented with the most frequency on these vessels. With the exception of foxes, animal portrait masks are seldom represented on this type of vessel. Ceramic vessels with similar masked iconography are featured in "Nasca Geheimnisvolle Zeichen im Alten Peru," Museum Reitberg Zurich, 1999 (exhibition catalog).
Peru | Nazca lug handled vessel wearing a striped tunic | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Nazca lug handled vessel wearing a striped tunic
The figure is wearing a woven read headband and has a painted mustache with bird head decoration for his eyes. He is wearing a colorful stripped tunic with fringe, which is typical for Nazca weaving. This lug handle vessel was made for carrying Chicha or corn beer with a temp line passing through the lug handles so that it could be carried on a person's back.
A similar vessel wearing a tunic is illustrated in CATA PGP DE A CERA OCA MAZCA, by Concepcion Blasco Busqued, 1991, Madrid, pg 94.
Peru | Nazca necklace with bone and syondylus beads and a minature female pendant | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Nazca necklace with bone and syondylus beads and a minature female pendant
The necklace is made of 32 carved bone beads separated by 6 dark purple circular beads. The pendant is a classic Nazca miniature carved female with traces of painted eyes and mouth. The head piece of purple shell is missing. It's possible that the pendant is made up of Whale tooth ivory. A similar type of figurine is illustrated in 'Miniature Size, Magical Quality - Nasca Art from the Glassell Collection', Marzio, pg 59; and in 'The Inka Empire And Its Andean Origins', Morris and Von Hagen, p.87.
Dimensions: Length 68 cm. size of pendant H.1.4cm W. 5cm
Peru | Nazca Polychrome Effigy Jar with Flute Player | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Nazca Polychrome Effigy Jar with Flute Player
This is one of the few effigy figures in the Nazca ceramic sequence that portrays a musician. The figure is holding a five chambered panpipe in his right hand and has his left hand to his cheek. He is elaborately dressed in patchwork tunic, with a black and white checkered undergarment. Around his neck is a series of plaques in alternating colors of beige, brown and gray. On top of his head is a polka dot band in grey. Below he is wearing a red/brown loin cloth covering prominent genitals. The musician has facial decoration, including black condor profile heads around the eyes and red triangles in front of his ears. This figure is illustrated by Lavalle "Nazca" (1986: 132).
Peru | Nazca Scaffold Weave Panel with five diamonds in red and brown | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Nazca Scaffold Weave Panel with five diamonds in red and brown
This is a complete panel woven in scaffold weave with fine yarn, a technique also known as warp-interlock tapestry. Instead of the usual weft construction, the warp is interlocked with another of a different color. Here, the design consists of five diamonds with crosses inside, on alternating colored grounds of gold and red. This panel is illustrated in Mary Schoeser "World Textiles: A Concise History (2003: #62). A very similar example is shown in "Nazca: Arte y Tesoros del Peru (1986: 67).
Peru | Nazca Tunic with bold stepped/diamond motif in red, brown and gold. | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Nazca Tunic with bold stepped/diamond motif in red, brown and gold.
This scaffold-woven poncho is decorated with a series of complete stepped diamonds alternating in red and gold, outlined in brown. The bottom is bordered by gold, red and brown horizontal bands, with a narrow braid of twisted gold on top of a brown fringe. This tunic was made by two different weavers in the same workshop as seen by the slightly different sizes of diamonds. It's very rare to find a complete tunic intact and unopened.
Peru | Nazca white panel embroidered with 3 red and gold figures, sampler | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Nazca white panel embroidered with 3 red and gold figures, sampler
This panel is embroidered with three red and gold figures interspersed with small red, gold, and green abstract designs and "X" shapes on a white ground. Each end is selveged with a very narrow black and white border. Similar textiles are described and illustrated in "Early Nazca Needlework" by Alan Sawyer.
Peru | Nazca Wooden Blow Gun with Wrappings | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Nazca Wooden Blow Gun with Wrappings
The blow gun is made from one solid piece of wood. It is stone-carved on the inside, and drilled from the narrow center section to the mouth piece. There are very few examples illustrated in the material culture of ancient people using blow guns for hunting, except for one famous example on a Moche mouth ornament, illustrated in the Dora and Paul Janssen collection catalog "MASTERS OF THE AMERICAS" on page 254. In this example, two hunters are using short blow guns to kill birds on tree branches with cactus thorn darts. This particular blow gun was found with a fancy double weave cloth fragment and fine yellow feathers strung together - perhaps to decorate the blow gun or used for camouflage. Tree thorns were also found at the site, probably for use as darts.
Dimensions: Length: 18 1/4" Diameter at End: 2 1/2" Tapers to: 1 1/4"
Peru | Pachacamac woven bird | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Pachacamac woven bird
This woven bird is brown, blue and white on a light brown ground, and has a smaller brown bird with a blue head behind it. There are a series of smaller, more stylized birds around the edge of the textile. It was originally woven to be an emblem for tunic and was part of a large cache which was woven for tribute. A similar bird is illustrated in TEXTILE ART OF PERU pg. 276. This is a good example of a woven shaped tapestry as it is not cut.
Dimensions: Width 17" x Length 20" mounted / length 10 x width 9 in.
Peru | Pair of Chancay White, Double-chambered Whistling Vessels with figures | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Pair of Chancay White, Double-chambered Whistling Vessels with figures
It is a rarity to find ceramic vessels in pairs that provide such excellent examples of the elegantly restrained aesthetics of the classic Chancay style. The presence of the musician figures atop one of the chambers on each vessel attests to the Chancay artist's stylish wit that cleverly enforces the sibilant properties of the vessels. Each is comprised of two circular chambers that connect at the sides. Each chamber sets on its individual pedestal, and a bridge handle links a tall conical spout on one of the chambers to a decorative musician figure identified by his double cone headdress and large earspools. When liquid is poured from one chamber to another the air between them is displaced, resulting in a whistling sound made through a fipple under the figure. Ceramic vessels in the Chancay style are illustrated and discussed in "Contemporaneidad del Arte Chancay," Museo de Arte de Lima (1998).
Peru | Pair of Chavin Shell Ear Pendants with Fanged Deity Heads Wearing Turbans | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Pair of Chavin Shell Ear Pendants with Fanged Deity Heads Wearing Turbans
This pair of ear pendants inlaid eyes with shell and turquoise pupils. The teeth are also inlaid with shell. Both profiles wear knotted turbans. The faces are similar to the large stone tenoned heads found at Chavín de Huantar. A similar pair can be found in the "Handbook of South American Indians," Volume II, Julian H. Steward, ed. (1963: pl. 62).
Peru | Paracas Bridge Spout Vessel with an double-headed undulating Eel. | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Paracas Bridge Spout Vessel with an double-headed undulating Eel.
It is unusual to have a post-fired vessel painted in two tones of yellow, one for the ground and the other for the serpent. The double-headed serpent symbolizes the Celestial Serpent that formed an arc over the world at the top of the heavens.
Peru | Paracas Embroidered Section with Four Birds | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Paracas Embroidered Section with Four Birds
This embroidery textile is decorated with five mythical birds in red, green, orange, and blue on plain cotton. In front of each of the large birds is a miniature bird in contrasting colors. This textile is illustrated in ANCIENT PERUVIAN TEXTILES by Ferdinand Anton,1984, pl.52.
Peru | Paracas Polychrome Owl Bowl with incised design | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Paracas Polychrome Owl Bowl with incised design
This Paracas bowl was decorated with face mask painted in rich post-fired pigments of red, yellow, olive and buff. On each side of the bowl has yellow and red dot checkerboard pattern. There is a slight indentation on the upper rim for a drinking lip. A similar example is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY) and illustrated in Alan Sawyer, "Ancient Peruvian Ceramics" (1966: 74). Ex-Landmann Collection, At the American Museum of Natural History for 10 years.
Peru | Paracas, Juan Pablo Style falcon motif bridge spout vessel | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Paracas, Juan Pablo Style falcon motif bridge spout vessel
The blind spout at one end of the bridge handle of this vessel is modeled with a falcon head, a typical feature of the Early Paracas style at Juan Pablo. The surface on the upper body of the vessel has been delicately incised and painted to show the outstretched wings and tail feathers of the falcon in a geometrically inspired style. When viewed from above, the body is decorated with circular pelt markings in a precise arrangement and the talons are clearly delineated. The lower portion of the body has been left undecorated, as it would have been buried in the desert sand. The overall color scheme though somewhat faded is made up of red, orange, ochre, black and cream pigments. This is a beautifully preserved example of Phase 3 of the Early Paracas period, unlike most Juan Pablo vessels which are heavily restored. Similar examples of this style are illustrated and discussed in Alan R. Sawyer, "Ancient Peruvian Ceramics: The Nathan Cummings Collection" from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1966). Ex Collection of Jerome Pustilnik, from Alan Lapiner prior to 1970.
Peru | Recuay Ceramic House Scene | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Recuay Ceramic House Scene
Creamware with geometric painted designs in red, orange and brown polychrome. This is an elaborate house model with six figures modeled inside. This is one of the few houses with two windows and a door, as most of the known examples have only one opening. The house is also a good example of negative resist decoration, which was characteristic of Recuay ceramics. Similar examples are illustrated in Lapiner, "Pre-Columbian Art of South America" (1976: pls. 422 and 433).
Dimensions: Length: 5 in x Width: 5 in. x Height: 5 in.
Peru | Recuay Ceremonial Procession or Audience Vessel | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Recuay Ceremonial Procession or Audience Vessel
A shaman is the central figure surrounded by five attendants all holding what appears to be lime containers for the coca chewing ritual. The shaman is wearing an elaborate headdress while the attends are wearing cloth headdress. Decorated in orange slip on white ground. A very similar piece is illustrated in ALTPERUANISCHE KULTUREN - RECUAY IV pg. 117-120
Peru | Recuay Gilt Copper Pin Decorated with the Moon Animal | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Recuay Gilt Copper Pin Decorated with the Moon Animal
This is a short tupú with a filigree design of the Moon creature, a North Coast deity invented by the Recuay and adopted by later societies. The creature may have been modeled after the Pampas Cat or the Andean Mountain Cat, a small feline that inhabits the region. The Recuay and Moche associated the Moon Animal with the crescent moon, stars and human sacrifice. There is a turquoise bead in the eye; other recessed areas of the casting also had inlays, which have been lost. Few Recuay gilded works have survived because the gilt tends to fall off over time. The Recuay had sophisticated techniques of metalworking, and this example is extremely well crafted. The gilding is thick (about 1mm). A similar pin was found at a Recuay site, and is on display at the American Museum of Natural History.
Peru | Salinar-Early Moche Gold Nose Ornament With Dangles in the Form of Bird Feathers | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Salinar-Early Moche Gold Nose Ornament With Dangles in the Form of Bird Feathers
Unusual and rare nose ornament from the Salinar culture with stylized bird heads at each end and six dangles imitating feathers. A similar example is illustrated in "Oro del antiguo Peru" by José de Lavalle (1992: pl. 94).
Peru | Sican Gold Mask of the Third Type | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Sican Gold Mask of the Third Type
A classic type of mask from the 3rd Phase, constructed in 3 parts and held together by ancient gold staples. The eyes have turquoise bead pupils with gold hemispheres. Traces of the original cinnabar remain. Sicán masks are discussed in THE ART OF PRECOLUMBIAN GOLD - The Jan Mitchell Collection, page 66 - see example(e). The Sicán culture was extremely wealthy and was known to have built the largest city in the Americas, Chan- Chan, outside of the modern city of Trujillo. The Sicán were excellent gold workers, and when the Incas conquered them, they brought the metalsmiths to the Inca capital of Cuzco. Similar masks are illustrated in THE GOLD OF PERU-MUJICA GAILLO Collection. Ex. Private New York Collector.
Peru | Sihuas gold embossed headdress ornament with a faces | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Sihuas gold embossed headdress ornament with a faces
This embossed headddress ornament is decorated with a central face with outstretched arms and is surrounded by a series of circles. There is a smaller face above. The shape of the headddress has a long central part which rises above two smaller side peaks. In An article written by Colin McEwan and Joerg Haeberli about Gold Diadems from the Farr South Coast of Peru describes these ornaments and there are three on page 19 with similar motifs and date 100-300AD. Ex Collection Dr. Daniel Rifkin prior to 1970's
Peru | Sihuas Mantle with nine sun faces | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Sihuas Mantle with nine sun faces
The Sihuas sun face image was derived from the Tiwanaku Moon god. On this textile, the images are arranged 3 x 3 alternating in red and white sun faces. Rare double interlocking warp and weft with edges finished in the original pattern of a complicated oblique weave. According to Jorge Haeberle who has studied Sihuas textiles, this is one of only three known garments of this type. He thinks it was a head cloth with the opposing row of faces folded over from front to back showing the sun faces right side up on the front of the forehead. This weaving is very complicated and from the earliest Sihuas phase around 300 - 100 BC. There have been several larger Sijuas textiles with just a single sun face, while this one with the rows of faces compares to or perhaps influenced early known Tiwanaku and Pucuara weavings. The Sihuas complex of weaving began about 500 BC and was contemporany with Paracas embroideries. The Sihuas culture was eventually absorbed by the Nazca in the seventh century.
Peru | Sihuas Mummy Mask with tie-dye panel (twin blue) | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Sihuas Mummy Mask with tie-dye panel (twin blue)
This group of four panels represent a very rare type of textile in which the woven cloth was attached to a tie-dyed skirts. It seems that all four had ties at the top of the head. These textile figure cloths were probably placed over the deaceased in tombs. They date to the Sihuas III Phase.
Peru | Sihuas Mummy Mask with tie-dye panel (twin green) | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Sihuas Mummy Mask with tie-dye panel (twin green)
This group of four panels represent a very rare type of textile in which the woven cloth was attached to a tie-dyed skirts. It seems that all four had ties at the top of the head. These textile figure cloths were probably placed over the deaceased in tombs. They date to the Sihuas III Phase.
Peru | Sihuas Tapestry Panel Depicting a Sun Face Deity Holding a Staff in Each Hand | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Sihuas Tapestry Panel Depicting a Sun Face Deity Holding a Staff in Each Hand
The panel depicts a Sun Face Deity holding elaborate staffs with Puma profile heads. The Deity wears a chest decoration, which according to Prof. Sue Bergh also serves as a litter held by six attendants. Each attendant is in profile looking backwards. There is a column on each side of the panel with four larger kneeling attendants. A similar example is illustrated in TIWANAKU: ANCESTORS IF THE INKA.
Peru | Three Chavin Gold Plumes for Headdress | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Three Chavin Gold Plumes for Headdress
Three hammered gold plumes were used as headdress or turban ornaments with tapering shafts. They were each fabricated from an individual nugget by repeatedly hammering and annealing. They are illustrated in TRUJILLO Precolumbino, Odebrecht-Lavalle, Editores 1990, pg 293. Other similar examples are illustrated in Oro del Antiguo Peru, pl. 51. These plumes are considered very large for early Peruvian goldwork.
Dimensions: Height: 9", 11", 12" Weight for the three 90 grams XRF: Au.81, Ag. 9.5%, Cu. 10.1% average for the 3
Peru | Two Female Chancay Dolls Each | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Two Female Chancay Dolls Each
The female tapestry faces are divided into three sections while those of the males are woven in two sections. One holds a wad of unspun cotton while the other holds a spindle with brown cotton strapped around it. Each has a witch’s veil covering the back of the head. Ex collection Justin and Barbara Kerr, prior to 1970.
Dimensions: Height: 10 1/4" x Width of Face: 4 1/4"
Peru | Two Inca carved Spondylus shell pendants, a crayfish and a bird | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Two Inca carved Spondylus shell pendants, a crayfish and a bird
Crayfish are found in the sweet water rivers on the Peruvian coast. This crayfish has a suspension hole in its tail and may have been attached to a braclet or necklace. The Bbrd is best seen from above with carved protruding eyes and long tail. It has a suspension hole in its back.
Peru | Two Inca Miniature Cast Gold Standing Figures | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Two Inca Miniature Cast Gold Standing Figures
These two solid cast gold figures are highly unusual subjects. Each figure has exaggerated hands and elongated legs. Both figures have cast suspension holes above the ankles. The top of each figure has a hollow shape that could have been used to insert feathers. The only other example illustrated is in Oro del Antiguo Peru, lamina 210 (7 cm or 2.75"). One figure is wearing a headdress with a feline motif and the other one with a simple cylindrical shape. Ex-Jan Mitchell collection, prior to 1980.
Dimensions: Height:1.5" and 1.75"; Weight: 24 grams for pair.
Peru | Two Moche Ceramic Hands with Clenched Fists | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Two Moche Ceramic Hands with Clenched Fists
Although hands such as these are well documented for the Moche, it is rare to find two together from the same artist / workshop. The clenched fist, with raised middle knuckle, represents mountains and highland lagoons where sacrifices and divinatory rituals took place (Donnan, Moche Art of Peru 1978: 152-153 and fig. 235). Christopher Donnan further discusses the symbolism of such hands in "Andean Art at Dumbarton Oaks (1966: I: 136-139), where a bone carved as a clenched fist was studded with inlays of precious turquoise.
Dimensions: Height 10"( 25cm) and Height 9 3/4"(24 cm)
Peru | Vicús Donut-shaped Whistle Vessel with monkey | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Vicús Donut-shaped Whistle Vessel with monkey
This donut-shaped whistle vessel has a monkey figure one side of its bridge spout and the mouthpiece at the other end. The monkey sits on top of the vessel, with its head slightly tilted, hunched on its hind legs and placing his front legs forward and spread apart. The design motif consists of negative resist decoration. There is a whistle inside the monkey (not working) and would operate when the fluid inside the vessel moved the air out through it. A similar example can be found in Lapiner's "Pre Colombian Art of South America" pls.456 & 459. The piece has a crack on the bottom, which has been restored.
Peru | Vicús Gilt Copper Mace Head with four Levels of Six Pointed Stars | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Vicús Gilt Copper Mace Head with four Levels of Six Pointed Stars
The mace has a richly gilded surface with traces of malchite corrosion inside and out. A similar mace with only three layers of stars and less intact gilt is illustrated in Mufareche (1999: #132). Mace heads were attached to wooden shafts and used as weapons. This is a particularly fine example from the early Vicús culture.
Peru | Virú Double Chambered Single Spout Whistling Vessel in the Form of a Temple | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Virú Double Chambered Single Spout Whistling Vessel in the Form of a Temple
A strap handle orangeware vessel of a temple with lord and two attendants. The two heads could also be architectural elements or trophy heads. There are traces of negative resist decoration. Larco Hoyle describes and llustrates similar shaped vessels in his monograph "Cronologia del Norte de Peru, La Cultura Virú" (1945: 4 and 8).
Peru | Wari Atl Atl Grip with Owl Deity With Head Turned Backward | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Wari Atl Atl Grip with Owl Deity With Head Turned Backward
This fancy carved bone grip has a "Sphinx like" appearance, with the torso and face of an owl, but its head is turned backwards. The inlays are original and made of shell, turqkuoise and snail shell. The hat is a classic Wari four-cornered hat, only worn only by the Wari culture.
Peru | Wari Bridge Spout Ceramic of of A Man Holding a Rope | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Wari Bridge Spout Ceramic of of A Man Holding a Rope
A well-made burnished ceramic depicting a figure wearing a tunic decorated with step-frets. The figure is holding a rope in one hand and a bag in the other. The step-frets are brown on one side of the vessel and black on the other side of the vessel.
Peru | Wari Carved Wood Konopa in the form of an alpaca | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Wari Carved Wood Konopa in the form of an alpaca
Konopas were sacred offering containers carved in the shapes of llamas and alpacas. This example is carved from balsa wood in the unmistakable form of an alpaca, distinguished by its long hair, especially flopping over the eyes. A round cavity was carved into the animal's back for the purpose of holding an offering. Once filled, probably with a mixture of llama or alpaca fat and blood, the carving was subsequently placed in pastures to secure the fertility of herds and the land, both so essential to the ancient Peruvians. Most known extant konopas are from the later Inca period and were generally carved from stone. A wide variety of Inca stone examples are illustrated in "Gold of the Andes: The Llamas, Alpacas, Vicunas and Guanacos of South America," 2 vols. (Barcelona, 1994, Vol. I: 20 and 21). The stone Inca examples of alpaca konopas are from Helmut Schindler "The Norbert Mayrock Art Collection from Ancient Peru" (2000: 320).
Peru | Wari Death-head Vessel with winged felines | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Wari Death-head Vessel with winged felines
This beaker with skeletal head in relief was painted with winged felines holding staffs. Both the skeletal relief and the mythical felines are characteristic of Wari pottery. A smaller similar vessel in the American Museum of Natural History in New York is published in Alan Lapiner, "Pre-Columbian Art from South America (1976: #542) and Margaret Young-Sanchez, "Tiwanaku: Ancestors of the Inca" (2004: fig. 6.6) Height 6 3/4" compared to the above of 8". The skeletal deity wears a class Wari tapestry tunic and a lovely hair-do on his black. The crouching winged pumas holding staffs are classic features of Wari Art & Iconography. This vessel was formerly in a German collection collected prior to 1970.
Peru | Wari Double-headed Gold Plume with Embossed and Cutout Decoration | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Wari Double-headed Gold Plume with Embossed and Cutout Decoration
The feather plume is worked with embossed designs of two cutout birds standing on Puma heads and holding serpents in their beaks. The Puma Head can also be seen as a Condor head facing in the downward direction and seen in the classic Wari Tunics. The surfaces are beautifully burnished. A similar plume in the Berlin Museum measures 8 ¾” and is illustrated in WARI - Lords of the Andes, fig. 216. This plume is unusual in that it has two "branches" and is worked with both cutout and embossed designs while the others only have embossed work. Formerly in the collection of Robert Sonin.
Dimensions: Height 10 1/2" Weight: 27.1grams XRF Au 80.2%, Ag 18.8, Cu.9
Peru | Wari House Vessel with Overhanging Roof on Two Pillars | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Wari House Vessel with Overhanging Roof on Two Pillars
An effigy bowl in the form of a temple with a decorated roof. The sloping roof supported by pillars was likely decorated with a fresco. There are some temples in Southern Peru which still have traces of fresco decoration dating from the early Wari period. The columns taper to the top and have a lentil support. Photographed by Justin Kerr for Alan Lapiner, New York, June 1968.
Peru | Wari Long Handle Wood Mirror Back with two deer carved on top | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Wari Long Handle Wood Mirror Back with two deer carved on top
Elegantly carved wood handled mirror decorated with two felines perched on top facing outward. The mirror frame is carved with a mace-like knobs to give an overall impression of a scepter. The verso side is plain.
Peru | Wari Miniature Effigy of a Man with Large Hands | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Wari Miniature Effigy of a Man with Large Hands
There is a style of votive bottles in various sizes where the figure is holding his large hands to his extended belly. The most obvious explanation is it represents a feast and is quite full. Chicha, the ceremonial corn beer can expand ones' stomach. There is a group of Wari vessels which have necklaces and large hands which could mean that they came from the same tomb.
Peru | Wari three dimensional coil woven snake dance wand | | David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art
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Peru, Wari three dimensional coil woven snake dance wand
Shamans use dance wands hypnotize their attendants. This wand has 6 different patterns on its back and a solid brown underside. The tip has a 3" section of woven hemp which appears to be poisonous. There are many poisonous snakes in Peru including the dangerous Bushmaster. Formerly in the collection of Justin and Barbara Kerr, acquired from Alan Lapiner in 1967.
Dimensions: Length: 19 1/2" x Diameter: 1 1/2" tapering to 3/8"