A Moche Kneeling Warrior Stirrup Vessel, Middle Moche Period, ca. 300 - 600 CE
A charming stirrup vessel in the form of a kneeling warrior holding a small disc shield and a club, wearing a conical helmet decorated in red pigment with stylized animals, possibly sea creatures. He is also wearing a cream-colored overshirt with circle motifs at the chest and back framed by vertical lines and geometric motif bands at the bottom, as well as a red and cream striped band around his right wrist. His wide, almond-shaped eyes, large beak nose, and pursed mouth are characteristic of the classic Moche style.
These vessels could take the form of a head or of a full body, as seen here, and were shaped into bowls, jars, or, most commonly, bottles. Many of these have a spout in the shape of a stirrup, a favored form for ritual vessels on the north coast of Peru for about 2,500 years, from at least the beginning of the first millennium BCE through the early colonial period. It is unclear what these vessels once contained, if anything, although it is commonly assumed that they were used to hold chicha, a type of maize beer.
Dimensions: Height: 7 3/4 inches (19.5 cm), Width: 5 1/2 inches (14 cm)
Condition: The rear tip of the club reattached, A hairline crack around the top of the helmet, and a very minor tiny pin hole in the side of his neck, otherwise intact and in good condition.
Provenance: Ex Jorge de la Piedra Collection, 1940's, then by descent. Thereafter private Washington DC collection, acquired from Bonhams, New York, November 2010.
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