Ancient Forms for the Modern Eye April 2018 - Page 115

Moche Stirrup Spout with The Botanical Frog
Early Intermediate Period – Middle Horizon: 200 – 900 A.D.
Ceramic: Redware with cream paint
Overall: 7 3/4 x 5 x 7 1/2 in. (19.7 x 12.7 x 19.1 cm)
The supernatural creature known as The Botanical Frog combines frog,
plant, feline and serpent attributes. Typically, as shown here, the frog face
and body provide the primary form, while beans decorate the entire body.
Feline ears appear above the eyes. The frog also has a distinct nose with large
stylized curls, here and on other examples. The Botanical Frog is associated
with both agricultural fertility rituals and militaristic processions on Moche
ceramics. This is a particularly animated and colorful example of this
mythical creature.
Provenance: Acquired by the current collection in 1991.
Merrin Gallery, New York.
Sotheby’s New York, May 14, 1991 (lot 8).
Private California Collection.
Exhibition History:
Long Term Loan:
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Los Angeles, 19661989.
Temporary Loan:
The Bowers Museum, Santa Anna, 1980.
The Taste of Angels: Otis Arts Institute, Los Angeles, 1966.


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