ANTHROPOMORPHIC JAGUAR SHAMAN|
9979. EXCEPTIONAL LA TOLITA JAGUAR SHAMAN HEAD, Ecuador, Tumaco-La Tolita, c. 300 BC. Ceramic torso of a human shaman wearing a collared garment and large headdress but with a large-fanged jaguar head with large curled serpent's nose and tongue. Height 5". Fine
quality. On custom stand.
Provenance: Purchased by the present owner from an established US antiquities dealer in the 1990's. Independently documented 3rd party proof this piece has been in the US since at least October 8, 1999 is available. This is several years prior to the effective date of the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that restricts subsequent imports into the US.
Human shamans who shape shifted into animals, especially jaguars, under the influence of psychotropic drugs are a specialized motif in Meso-American art. The current piece, with its classic glyphic-style jaguar head is an especially impressive example.
The Tumaco-La Tolita culture developed in the coastal region of Southern Colombia and Northern Ecuador between 600 BC and AD 200. Numerous archaeological sites have been discovered that show the highly artistic nature of this culture, many of which depict highly realistic human heads and figures rendered with great artistic skill. Artifacts are characterized by gold jewelry, beautiful anthropomorphic masks and figurines that reflect a hierarchical society with complex ceremonies and are especially prized by collectors. An excellent reference is 'Tumaco', by Yves Sabolo.