Ancient Forms for the Modern Eye April 2018 - Page 92

Moche Llama Head Stirrup Vessel
Early Intermediate Period – Middle Horizon: 200 – 900 A.D.
Ceramic: Orangeware and red paint
Overall: 8 x 5 x 8 3/4 in. (20.3 x 12.7 x 22.2 cm)
A painted vessel in shape of llama head, with a double to single spout
rising from top of head. The head has a reddened neck area with a rope
around it, large almond eyes and nostrils above a closed slit mouth. Two
cupped, realistic ears protrude from each side of head. Facial markings
distinguish patches of fur. 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 its working collar as the base
of the vessel. 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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