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    Description

    Globular Vessel with Double-headed Serpent
    Paracas
    400 - 200 B.C.
    Burnished blackware, resin-based pigment
    Height 9 5/8 in. Diameter 9 1/2 in.

    An excellent example of the early major ceramic style of the south coast of Peru that centered around the Paracas peninsula, this vessel has an added pouring spout on the shoulder. A rich burnt orange ground covers the upper two-thirds of the globular shape. Into this a bold, undulating double-headed serpent-form has been incised. The heads are shown as the large-eyed image with grinning mouth known as the Oculate Being, the chins ending in goatee-like points. Each head has three symmetrical whisker-like tufts at ear and chin area, and there are short two-toed front legs on the body near each head. Two-unit rust and yellow tabs project periodically from the connecting body, which is outlined by a band of dark orange. Small rectangles punctuate the back along the spinal position. All of the design surfaces are resin-painted in tones of brown, rust, burnt orange, and yellow.
    Christopher B. Donnan gives an excellent description of Paracas ceramic surface decoration (Christopher B. Donnan. Ceramics of Ancient Peru.Los Angeles: University of California, 1992, p. 35): "Designs were incised on the surface of the vessel while the clay was still moist and fairly soft. The incision was done with a dull pointed tool that created the outline and defined each area where a distinct color was to be applied once the object was fired. Most Paracas ceramics, including all those that were to be painted with resin paint, were fired in a smudging atmosphere, creating a dark gray-to-black surface.
    "Resin paint was the hallmark of Paracas pottery. It was always applied after firing, and as flat color, with no attempt at blending or shading to create subtle differences of tone. Each color filled the entire area within the border of incised lines." When well-preserved, as in the present example, Paracas resin paints give a virtually unique surface, lustrous and silken, with an almost skin-like body. Colors have unusual saturation and brilliance.
    The condition here is good, with scattered paint losses and repaired cracks.

    Provenance
    David Bernstein, New York



    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2006
    29th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,533

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