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    Description

    Knife with Carved Wood Handle
    Aztec-Mixtec
    A.D. 1300 - 1521
    Wood and Chert, Weight 38 grams
    Height 13 in. Width 1 1/2 in.

    The crisply carved wooden handle is connected to a broad chert blade of deep reddish brown color. The handle's primary image is a half figure whose open mouth suggests someone singing or chanting. An elaborate, frame-supported headdress backs this figure. It is possible that the entire unit represents an effigy such as would have been found in a shrine. Absolute iconographic identification is elusive, but the principal figure's facial expression and limply hanging hands make Xipe a likely identification. Xipe is an ancient deity, probably originating among early Gulf Coast agriculturalists. His primary meaning is as the flayed god of spring and regeneration. By Aztec-Mixtec times he was also patron of goldsmiths and jewelers. Here it is of note that the most likely identification of the headdress creature is Xiuhcoatl, the fire serpent. Robert Sonin, in a letter of 10 December 1982, cites a line from a hymn to Xipe that is of relevance: "The serpent of fire has set me free" (Laurette Séjourné. Burning Water. Thought and Religion in Ancient Mexico.New York and London: Thames & Hudson, 1956, p.151). The condition is very good. It is probable that the handle and blade, both ancient, have recently been put together.

    The lot is sold with a statement of authenticity from the distinguished expert Robert Sonin.

    Provenance
    Leonard Patterson, New York
    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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2006
    29th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,641

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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