Lot 5
  • 5

Large Sicán Painted Gold Mask, ca. A.D. 950-1250

50,000 - 70,000 USD
212,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • gold
the continuous sheet of the imposing stylized face of the Sicán lord, with upturned eyes applied with rounded pupils, separately applied nose, and straight mouth, adorned with small roundels on the ear flanges, teardrop dangles beneath the eyes, and perforations on the ears, eyes and upper lip for insertion of additional ornaments, with extensive remains of cinnabar pigment and traces of green.


Acquired over 40 years ago

Catalogue Note

This large Sicán mask is a fine example of using pigments to add to the aura of these highly stylized  funerary items. Sicán masks from the north coast of Peru are some of the largest ancient goldworks known. The carefully hammered flat surfaces were layered with ear and nose dangles, eye stalks, and often painted with sacred red and green pigments, to create a dazzling collage of three-dimensional quality, even creating an acoustic effect. This mask belongs to the Type A category of the Sicán typology; for masks of large size and a fairly heavy gauge sheet metal, see Muro and Shimada (1985: 65, 68), and ibid. (pg. 67, figs. 5 and 6), for masks with pigment remaining.