A Moche Horned Owl Effigy Vessel, Early Intermediate Period - Middle Horizon, ca. 200 - 800 CE
A Moche Horned Owl Effigy Vessel, Early Intermediate Period - Middle Horizon, ca. 200 - 800 CE
A Moche Horned Owl Effigy Vessel, Early Intermediate Period - Middle Horizon, ca. 200 - 800 CE
A Moche Horned Owl Effigy Vessel, Early Intermediate Period - Middle Horizon, ca. 200 - 800 CE
A Moche Horned Owl Effigy Vessel, Early Intermediate Period - Middle Horizon, ca. 200 - 800 CE

A Moche Horned Owl Effigy Vessel, Early Intermediate Period - Middle Horizon, ca. 200 - 800 CE

PP2320

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This fine red-brown horned owl vessel is depicted with wing tips crossed at the back, raised horns, large eyes, and protruding beak, highlighted with incised details and cream slip, a stirrup spout attached at the back.  A beautiful example.

In Moche art owls are represented realistically, as here, and anthropomorphically in many roles. Throughout the ancient Americas, owls were associated with death because of their predatory, nocturnal nature, mournful voices and frequent habitation near cemeteries. For the Moche, the owl could interestingly be either a warrior or a healer.  Warriors would be a natural equivalent of the barn owl, who viciously decapitate their prey.  Owls' ability to magically "see" in the dark relates to the healer or shaman tranformed into their animal counterpart during nocturnal rituals.  Owls were additionally seen as protector of warriors, sacrificer of war captives and a bird that carried dead captives to the otherworld.

Published/Exhibited: Ancient Forms For The Modern Eye, Colnaghi Gallery, NYC, April 17th - July 20, 2018, #II

Medium: Clay, polychrome

Dimensions:  Height:  8 3/4 inches (22.3 cm)

Condition: Overall strong scattered mineral deposits on the surface. Intact, excellent condition.

Provenance:  Private East coast collection, acquired July 6, 1988 from Economos Works of Art, Santa Fe, NM., previously William Stark, Seattle, WA. 

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Furthermore, we conduct due diligence to ensure the item, to the best of our knowledge, has not been illegally obtained from an excavation, architectural monument, public institution, or private property. Wherever possible, reference is made to existing collections or publications.Wherever possible, reference is made to existing collections or publications.

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