Stirrup vessel of a shaman
Mochica stirrup vessel shaped as a shaman
Orange clay painted in white in brown.
Moche culture, Early to Middle period,
approx. 200 AD to 400 AD.
A thermoluminescence analysis was made by Kotalla laboratory in 2011. It dates the piece to an age of 1700 years (+/- 20%) confirming our attribution.
The so-called stirrup vessel has a spherical body with a plastical head attached at the top. It is painted to resemble a shaman with a dark face, holding a rattle in his right hand. The depiction of the eyes suggests that the man is blind.
A handle is attached to the back of the vessel. It is hollow and semi-circular, with an attached tube pointing almost vertically upwards.
Overall an impressive vessel due to the beautiful preservation of the painting and its size.
The Moche culture developed in present-day Peru from the 1st century AD. The highly organized state produced numerous cities and an irrigation system for agriculture. Among the archaeological testimonies of the Moche culture, the lifelike stirrup vessels are particularly famous. This vessel is an excellent example of its kind. From the 7th century the empire declined, probably due to drastic climate changes. The vessel presented here dates from the golden age of the Moche civilization.
21.4cm height, c. 13cm diameter.
Almost perfect condition. Slight restoration, body complete and intact. Most of the original painting has also been preserved. Modern stickers "J11 MOCHE" and "2390" on the bottom.
Acquired by us in 2020 in a German auction house. Previously in the Alt-Amerika Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany. The piece is featured in a 2012 gallery catalogue, see reference below. Acquired in 2011 from the Austrian collection of Dr. G. Eysanck v. Marienfels, where the stirrup vessel has been located since the 1970s. A thermoluminescence analysis from 2011 comes with this vessel.
U. Hoffmann, Galerie Alt-Amerika, Schaetze Alt-Amerikas (Stuttgart, 2012), p. 274, no. 180
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