Lot 3
  • 3

Paracas Polychrome Figural Vessel, Ocucaje style Middle/Late Paracas, ca. 500-100 B.C.

15,000 - 20,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • clay
  • Height: 6 1/2 in (16.5 cm)
the seated warrior holding a rectangular shield with stylized trophy-head on the left, a clutch of three arrows in his right hand, his limbs modeled in relief and with distinctive whitened face with large incised eyes outlined in black, wearing a striped cape trimmed by beads and tied at the neck with a shell tassle, the flat, layered turban draped with a headband of a bird's skin with wings swept to the back, fine braids framing the face, the strap-handle to the spout at the back incised with a stepped cross motif; with fine textile remains covering areas of the post-fire pigment.


Laurence C. Witten II Collection, acquired by the late 1960's-early 1970's
Sotheby's, New York, November 19, 1990, lot 8, consigned by the above

Catalogue Note

The trophy-head cult was an important element of the Ocucaje style, where ritual warfare was a means to gain life-force and further the security of one's clan. This confident and elaborately clothed warrior wears animal and bird pelts, including a falcon skin, a powerful bird of prey that held  importance since Chavin times, and was frequently depicted on Late Paracas pottery (see lot 2). See Sawyer (1975:81) and Lapiner (1976: fig. 193), for the general type.