Ancient Forms for the Modern Eye April 2018 - Page 119

Chavin (Chongoyape) Stirrup Spout Fish
Effigy Vessel
Initial Period – Early Horizon: 1200 – 500 B.C.
Ceramic: Grayware
Overall: 7 3/8 x 4 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. (18.7 x 11.4 x 24.1 cm)
This vessel is a faithful representation of a mudfish with its wide, relatively
flat head, large concentrically ringed eyes, arching brows and broad slit
mouth. The small barbels at the sides of the mouth are taste sensors to help
bottom feeders find food in muddy water. The small fins on the sides of the
body and flaring tail are realistically shown. Even the fine, punctate stippling
mimics the rough textured scaly skin of mudfish. The short spout on the
stirrup is characteristic of Chongoyape vessels.
Provenance: Sotheby’s New York, May 19, 1992 (lot 185).


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