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.