Lot 7
  • 7

Moche Gold and Turquoise Inlay Ear Ornament ca. A.D. 200-500

Estimate
100,000 - 150,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • gold, turquoise
the long cylindrical shaft surmounted by a gold frontal inlaid with a mosaic of turquoise, and decorated with an applied gold warrior composed of carefully fitted sheets, holding a club and shield, with turquoise eyes and earrings, and flanked above by two sodalite avian warriors also holding clubs.

Provenance

John Wise, acquired by 1968
Acquired from the above by the present owner's family in 1971

Exhibited

New Orleans,  The Art of Ancient and Modern Latin America, Selections from Public and Private Collections in the United States, The Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, May 10–June 16, 1968

Literature

The Art of Ancient and Modern Latin America, Selections from Public and Private Collections in the United States, The Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, catalogue to the exhibition, cat. no. 226, illustrated in Acknowledgements, 1968

Catalogue Note

Jewelry was one of the key mediums to convey socio-political status and mythological beliefs in ancient Andean culture. Ear ornaments were an integral part of large assemblages, which referenced certain sensory powers of the wearer. Ear ornaments were associated with wisdom and listening skills (Fraresso in Pimentel 2013:146). 
Disc ear spools supported with long counterweight shafts, were a distinct feature of Moche jewelry. The layers of applied precious materials created a sculptural scene in minute detail, and were testament to the specialized craftsmen and the trade networks required to make these refined, multi-medium objects. 

On this earspool, the inner wood disc is layered with carefully fitted tesserae of turquoise, secured with tiny turquoise pins, creating a textured background emulating a brilliant sky. The standing warrior is composed of modeled gold sheets forming the long mace-headed club across his chest and the rectangular shield. He wears a turban headdress tied under the chin, and tunic, and has inlay turquoise eyes and ear spools. The avian-warriors soaring above him are also holding clubs. These costumed warriors, or mythological figures, are distinctive Moche guardians. The disc is encircled by a gold ring framed with turquoise beads.

For other earspools see Lapiner (1976: fig. 399- 403); see also Peru, Art from Chavin to the Incas, Petit Palais, Paris, April 5-July 2, 2006, cat. nos. 102-103.

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