A Moche-Chimu Copper Water Bird Spoon, ca. 500 - 1000 CE
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A copper coca spoon (also called lime spoon), used to measure lime powder in order to enhance the hallucinogenic properties of other drugs. The spoon features a water bird finial standing on a post, surmounting a long slender body fashioned at the end to create a small spoon for the lime powder. Perforated for attachment.
Andean societies thought of birds as precious resources; there was a roaring trade, for example, in parrot and macaw feathers from the Amazon Basin to the Andes so that they could adorn the garments of elites. Many birds appear in ancient Andean artwork, often depicted in ways that emphasize their perceived supernatural qualities and further show that the artisans were familiar with how real birds of many species looked.
Dimensions: Height: 2 3/4 inches (6.9 cm)
Condition: With a patina of rich dark red brown, the spoon is intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Jack Bregman private collection, acquired in the 1970s, ex. Fred Drew collection, thereafter private NYC collection.