The Treasury - Fine Pre-Columbian Art


9236. NARINO VENUS WARRIOR BOWL. Columbia, Capuli Complex, 850-1500 AD. The footed bowl with slightly out turned rim, the whole with burnished resist painted red and buff glaze. The interior of the bowl with painted warriors alternating with 8-pointed star symbols of the planet Venus. 4.25 x 7.5 inches. An historically important and rare museum quality piece. An exceptional example and very rare thus. Tiny line in rim but all original with no repair or restoration. Provenance: Acquired by the present owner from Harmer Rooke Galleries in the early 1990's.

The rising of the planet Venus regulated the time of ritual warfare in Meso-America. However it's appearance as a design motif on pottery, especially with the associated Venus warriors is quite rare. A "star war" is a full-scale war planned in accordance with specific astronomical events, usually the first appearance in the morning sky of the planet Venus. The heliacal rising of the brilliant "star" in the pre-dawn sky was considered by the Maya as a highly evil portent. As such it was an appropriate herald of warfare, at least on the part of the attacker. (Schelle). Other pre-Columbian cultures also went to war by the sky, triggered by the planet Venus. Venus war regalia is seen on stelas and other carvings, and raids and captures were timed by appearances of Venus, particularly as an evening "star". Warfare related to the movements of Venus is, well established throughout the area. The Maya certainly timed military campaigns to coincide with celestial events. Werner Nahm, has recently proposed that Lunar cycles can be linked to those of Venus to produce many more stations at which such war events might occur.