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    Description

    Olmec Ceremonial Snuff Tray with a Supernatural Being

    Olmec, Central America
    C. 1100-600 BC
    Serpentine Stone
    5¼" Tall x 5¼" Wide

    The large deep green veined disc bows slightly to the front, the backside cupped lightly, and is void of suspension holes. Incised upon the front is a large anthropomorphic supernatural image showing an infant were-jaguar mouth and nostrils.  The image depicts thick lips and a toothless gum. The Olmec shamans would communicate with the underworld through use of hallucinogenic mixtures during ritual ceremony and would need a small, smooth surface for grinding and mixing the ingredients. The disc appears to be a miniature metate, impervious to absorbing the rare toxins. More commonly, longer snuff tablets with suspension holes were used called a 'spoon', frequently with small divisions for mixing and snuffing through a bone or jade tube.  To the back, one side exhibits a series of intentional long scraping, possibly to have been used for grating purposes, while the other side is very smooth and polished. Separate from the disc, the piece combines with two Flame Brows, a trait representative of the plumage of the harpy eagle that navigates the air. A unique example in excellent condition, one flame brow original, one a replacement, the disc with strong deposits and ancient mineral growths.


    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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2011
    16th-17th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,906

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