Lot 10
  • 10

Pair of Sicán Gold Beakers of Frogs ca. A.D. 900-1100

40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • gold
each of wide form, and deeply repoussé with eight splayed frogs forming two rows, each with circle patterned backs and feet flexed at the side.


John Wise
Acquired from the above by the present owner's family in 1968

Letter from Junius Bird, American Museum of Natural History, New York, to John Wise, December 27, 1967 concerning four frog cups, which includes the subject cups and lot 12

Catalogue Note

Andean toads and frogs include Bufo spinulosus who live in river beds of the desert valleys and foothills, and the large Bufo marinus, a giant toad of the Pacific Coast, both of which have a distinctive roughly textured knobby skin as shown on these beakers. Frogs' prominent vocal nature and appearance after hibernation were watched as signs of changing weather.Their potent serums were also well known as hallucinogenic tools for ceremonial rites and the highly toxic compounds were used to stun and poison prey. See Moraga (2005: 111, fig. 97) for toad imagery on textiles; also see Jones (1985:cat. no. 73), for gold beakers in the Jan Mitchell Collection with similar frogs.