A Moche Copper Royal Tumi, ca. 500 - 800 CE
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Tumis are ceremonial knives with semicircular blades. Known on the Peruvian coast since the third century BCE, they often appear in Moche iconography, where they are used to cut the throat of sacrificial victims. Tumis were also recently found in situ in the tombs of high-status Moche and Sicán individuals. Moche tumis such as this one were exquisitely crafted by skilled metallurgists mastering the techniques of repoussé, soldering, and filigree. Here, the handle takes the shape of a royal Moche Lord holding two ceremonial staffs, with characteristic royal headdress of crescent form, a beaded necklace with a suspended pendant, and a trophy head protruding from the back.
Such symbolic blades formed part of the ritual toolkits that endured from the late first millennium B.C. until the arrival of Europeans in the sixteenth century.
Dimensions: Height: 5.3 inches (13.5 cm)
Condition: Overall intact and in very good condition, with excellent "verdigris" patina.
Provenance: Ex. Ian Arundel Collection, proprietor of The Curiosity Shop on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, during the 1950s and 1960s, by decent to Colin Arundel, thereafter private Canadian collection, acquired from the trade in 2010.
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