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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Huari Art : Huari Carved Bone Lime Container
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Huari Carved Bone Lime Container - PF.2285
Origin: Central Highlands of Peru
Circa: 750 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 4.625" (11.7cm) high
Catalogue: V11
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Bone

Location: United States
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Carved from bone, this exquisite vessel exudes a dynamic power and energy that belies its small size. Used for storing powdered lime, the Indians dabbed the lime, which adhered to the bone wand onto coca leaves, the lime bringing out the mild narcotic effect of the coca. When chewed by the native highlanders, the coca leaves slowed their metabolic rate, which helped to temper rigors of living at the over-12, 000 foot high altitudes of the Andes Mountains. Functional works of art such as this give evidence to the incredible creativity and craftsmanship that formed an integral part of Pre-Columbian Peru. Here the artist has masterfully carved a crouching masked figure that evinces a spiritual power and strength through his wide-eyed and snarling mask, the power enhanced by a sticking an inlaid shell headdress. The artistic use of colored shell also highlights these strong attributes. The figure carries a monkey on his back (monkeys were imported form the eastern Montana as pets), by means of a serpent strap draped over his shoulder and wrapped around the monkey's waist. Once again, the artist's mastery of the medium and his acute awareness of the natural world around him can be seen in the finely stylized portrayal of the monkey's body, with hatched lines representing its fur and an elegantly curled tail reminiscent of a coastal seashell. A keen sense of balance of overall form, design and proportion makes this sculpted work of art a joy to behold, its mystical power and energy crossing both time and space. - (PF.2285)


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