Inca Quipu

Enigmatic Inca Quipu
Inca Quipu. Ca. 14th – 16th c.

The Andean corded communication system. The cord’s composition, ply, length, end treatment, and color were all significant factors in the quipu’s use and meaning.

This enigma is made of Cotton. Composed of a thicker, 32″/81.28 cm long Primary cord. It contains 65 pedant cords alternating in segmented tan and brown colors. Each pendant varies in length with strategically placed differing type knots representing numeric values.  According to Harvard University’s Quipu Data Base Project, there are approximately 600 Quipus in existence in museum, university and private collections around the world.

Private American collection. Ex. Alex del Canho collection, Israel. Howard S. Rose Gallery, NYC.

Olmec Were-Jaguar Mask

This exceptional were-jaguar mask was sculptured from the Olmec’s most favored jade stone. Rarest among transforming Were-Jaguar mask types. The mask is unique exhibiting both animal and human qualities in high relief. Notable for its characteristic upraised upper lip, bifurcated tongue, curved fangs and cleft forehead. Perforated almond shape crossed eyes (strabismus), pug nose and projecting thin elongated ears. Two pierced holes for suspension.

Mexico, ca. 900-600 B.C.  Very Rare mask in Jade – Investment piece.

Measures: 5.25”/13.33 cm H;  4”/10.16 cm W;  2.25”/5.71 cm D.; Over 7.25”/18.41 cm on custom upward projected metal stand.

Polished face with partly smooth back. No fractures. Completely intact in choice condition.

Provenance: L. Smyth, Florida. Acquired 1970s – 80s.

Accompanied by a hardbound CIRAM Scientific Analysts report attesting to its authenticity and Ruffner Art Advisory Fair Market Value report.

Appears in the advert section in the July/August 2020 issue of the Apollo – International Art Magazine; Dec/Jan 2020 issue of the Native American Art Magazine.

M-8 Mezcala Axe God

A symmetric Mezcala anthropomorphic Axe God figure. Type M-8. Carved from gray Metadiorite stone. Incised features and details indicated by grooving. A fine and very attractive semi- abstract piece. Sediment deposits throughout as found. Guerrero, Mexico. Ca 700 B.C. – 650 A.D. Measures: H. 7.625”/19.37 cm.

Mochica Seated Bound Prisoner

An extraordinarily and expressive wooden Moche III seated bound prisoner. Uniquely made from a piece of the Aphandra (mastodon palm) tree into a human Calero (lime container). His facial features are exaggerated and remarkable. Almond shaped eyes, made of shell with purple spondylus pupils. Large nose, ears and pointed head. Curled copper wired whiskers are also attached to his face and nacre (mother of pearl) applied all around the neckline. Unclothed with hands bound by rope behind his back. Head is removable which exposes the attached copper spatula and hollowed out lower body. The fearsome Moche capture their enemy and humiliated them by removing their clothing, parading them prior to sacrifice. Removal of his head could symbolize the tribute of taking a trophy head.

An outstanding piece of art history in wood rarely seen in an exceptional state of preservation and subject matter.

Size: 4″/10.16cm Unmounted – 6.25″/15.87cm Mounted

Condition: Near Choice. Natural wood separation on back. Pupil re-attached and expected copper oxidation under head where spatula is attached.

Mochica III 200-300AD

Chancay Mummy Bundle Mask

An excellent, robust Chancay Mummy Bundle Mask. Made from the Alder tree with uniformly applied gritty red cinnabar. Red is the color of the east, the rising sun and thus a sign of the resurrection to new life. Large rounded shaped head. Strong naturalistic facial features with diamond shaped eyes. Measures 12″/30.48cm in height unmounted. Central coastal region, Peru 1200-1470 AD. Exceptional and large.

Condition: Choice

Guanacaste Costa Rican Incensario

A wonderful Potosi Applique with crocodilian effigy. This ritual incense burner has a top cover finalized with a portrayal of an aggressive spiny Caiman. Three rows of exaggerated pointed scutes crowns his elongated head. Two double ring banning appliqué surround the upper and matching lower section. White and red colors faintly appear near the eyes and legs. Lower bowl has vertical stripes in light yellow. Overall  body is heavily textured. The figure to the bowl has been reattached along with a back leg and tail. Restoration applied over the brakes. Otherwise in excellent condition. Measures 13.5″/34.3 cm in height.

Greater Nicoya region, Costa Rica, 500 – 1350 AD (Period V-VI)

Ex. Private Washington D.C. Estate, acquired before 1980’s.

Manteño Seated Figure Incensario

An attractive and large ceramic incensario. A broad shouldered naked male seated in a frontal pose on a stool with a stepped base. Facial features are incredibly bold and realistic. Wears traditional large disc ear plugs. The shallow platter type headdress is very large, measuring over 10”/25.4 cm in Diameter.  Excellent motifs on the upper chest and back indicate the high rank of this individual. Highly burnished marbleized brown-black ceramic contributes to its beauty. Outstanding example.

Overall height is 16.5”/41.9 cm. Reassembled from four parts, with restoration over breaks.  Manabi, Ecuador 700/1500 AD.

Ref. Pre-Columbian Art of South America, Alan Lapiner., Pg. 363 Plates 785, 757

Digging up prehistory “The Archaeology of Ecuador” Pg. 359

Published Manteño Parakeet Shell Mortar

A wonderful Manteño shell mortar in the shape of a parakeet. This adorable miniature mortar was de-accessioned from the collection of the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC (inventory 67.12.12). Published in the book “The Pre-Columbian Collection: Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina”, by M. Keating Griffiss, 1970 (object no. 94). The ancient artisan produced this from a thick shell core to resemble one of their more sacred animals – The Parrot. The head is detailed, and the main body (the receptor) is a deep well that lays between the wings, finalizing with a short tail and legs. Smaller prongs were used to stabilize the mortar. The author of the book states “A carved shell vessel of an animal with four legs carrying a load, the top of which is concave.”  A copy of the book will be enclosed.

Minor surface wear and erosion with minor chipping and abrasions, otherwise in very fine condition.

Measures 3.5″/8.89 cm in length by 2.25″/5.71 cm in height respectively.

Manta, Ecuador 700-1500 AD. – Ultra rare as mortars in shell rarely survive.

Provenance: Former Atlanta, GA private collection. Deaccessioned from the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, cited as a gift to the museum from Mr. & Mrs. Edwin L. Jones, 1967.

Inca Bronze Axe Blades with Owl Insignia

Set of two large and heavy Inca Bronze Axes with Sacred Owl “Tuco” – Rare

Cast bronze with half moon shape blade. Center hole in the thick haft base. Sacred Andean owl decorated on a single side. Eyes wide with long ear-tufts. A suitable insignia on a weapon blade that reflex wisdom and protection to the holder while announcing death to its opponent. Sierra, Ecuador. Ca. 1400 -1550 A.D. Vintage Riker display case.

Measures: 6”- 6.5” W, 5.75” H. 15.24-16.51 cm. W, 14.60 cm H.  Combined weight 90 oz. 2.5 kg.

Private FL collection; Ex Holmes, GA.

Ref: Cobre Del Antiguo Peru, plate 161 and p. 531

Valdivian – Chorrera Ceremonial Stone Mortar

Exceptional and robust granite stone mortar of the Transition Style. Beautiful spiral perforation on the tail. Valdivia region, Ecuador. Ca. 2000 B.C. – 300 B.C. Measures: 9″ long, 4″ tall, 3″ wide. Choice.

During the Late Formative period, there developed a great interest and desire for green stones in general. They were exotic in most areas and would have been sought in exchange over long distances as it became widespread use in domestic and mortuary contexts. The dramatic growth in popularity of green stones also occurred at about the same time in Mesoamerica.