Ancient Forms for the Modern Eye April 2018 - Page 83

Moche Llama Effigy StirrupVessel
Early Intermediate Period – Middle Horizon: 200 – 800 A.D.
Ceramic: Whiteware with brown paint
Overall: 7 x 4 x 7 1/4 in. (17.8 x 10.2 x 18.4 cm)
The llama was many things for the ancient Moche – beast of burden,
food source and revered spirit. Here, the artist has realistically rendered
the llama with a pack on its back. Ear position is an important indicator
of llama behavior; in this case, the flattened ears are a warning for other
llamas and humans to leave this creature alone. The Moche were unique
among Andean cultures in their ability to realistically portray the world
around them. Although their subject matter can be esoteric, including
anthropomorphic demon creatures and deities, there was clearly a genre of
realistic representations of animals, fish, birds and plant forms, as well as
scenes of daily life on painted vessels.
Provenance: Paul Shepard, Tucson.
Dr. Ernest Lira, Houston and Denver, or Dr. Peter Almendariz,
Denver, or M. Brenner, Geneva.


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