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Lot 64: Chavin Redware Stirrup Vessel with Twin Snakes
27 October 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
Pre-Columbian, Peru, Chavin, ca. 900 to 200 BCE. A redware stirrup spouted vessel adorned with a polished, raised design depicting twin serpents in profile (one on each face of the vessel) with gnashing teeth, spikes extending from their heads, and a sinuous body that wraps behind and over their heads tracing the overall form of the rounded body of the jar. Chavin art oftentimes depicts snakes, raptors, or jaguars as supernatural beings with ferocious fangs like we see in this example. Sometimes they are depicted in a transformational state as two entities at once. The creatures presented by this ancient potter, for instance, may in fact possess characteristics of both snakes and jaguars (the pointed forms possibly being jaguar ears). Indeed the Chavin artists loved to play with a viewer's perception. According to art historian R. R. Stone, "A strong perceptual effect, certainly calculated by Chavin artists, inspires confusion, surprise, fear, and awe through the use of dynamic, shifting images that contain varying readings depending on the direction in which they are approached." (R.R. Stone "Art of the Andes" Thames & Hudson, 2012, p. 37.) A special example from this ancient culture of the Andes. Size: 5.75" W x 8.5" H (14.6 cm x 21.6 cm)
Provenance: Ex-Jean-Eugene Lions collection, Geneva, Switzerland, collection #170.
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Condition Report: Intact condition with some weathering of the surface on the spout and upper vessel.