Saturday, April 16, 2011


Jadeite was the most precious of all materials in the eyes of the Pre-Columbian peoples throughout Ancient America. Jadeite and similar greenstones were worked into a wide variety of items worn as emblems of social and political power. One of the most common forms was the so-called ax god pendant, which was suspended from a cord around the neck. The name "ax god" comes from the form of the pendant, which replicates the shape of the traditional stone chopping tool (or axe). Some represent human-like supernatural beings. It is also possible that it represents a shaman who has transformed himself into a supernatural being.

Olmec Dwarf Sculpture

an Olmec seated figure of a dwarf, Las Bocas, Early Preclassic, circa 1200-900 BC, shown at the left, had great charm fo a ceramic only 2 5/8 inches high. The obese figure, is in fine condition.

Rare Zapotec Jade Figural Urn a rare Zapotec jade figural urn, Monte Alban I/II, circa 500 to 100 BC., which had been estimated at $200,000 to $300,000. The 8 ¼-inch-high statue, shown at the right, was a ceremonial and ritual container representative of the "God of the Serpent Buccal Mask," a deity known as Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent that was a major divinity in ancient Mexico. It was probably made after the collapse of the Olmec civilization and shows the deity seated upright with his hands resting on the knees with a flared upper lip and three large upper teeth. "At the center of the forehead is a plume-like element that rises vertically, curves to the right and terminates in two crescent forms that resemble the buttons of a rattlesnake….The urn is carved from a light blue-green jade and polished to a high shine. Remains of cinnabar used to sanctify the vessel before burial cover parts of the surface of the carving and its interior,"
Mochican Copper Mask A large Early/Middle Mochica Copper Mask, circa 300 BC to 200 AD. This lot had been estimated at $12,000 to $15,000, which was reasonable given its good condition. Such dramatic masks with their crescent nose-guards have come up occasionally in recent years at auctions, but none with the visor and dangles and most without both shell eyes. The Mochica civilization, which preceded the Incas in Peru, has long been known for its fabulous ceramics, but its bronze and gold work has been appreciating dramatically in recent years and this was a particular lovely piece to highlight any collection. Indeed, some collectors might prefer these copper pieces to those in gold because they have more of an air of antiquity than the shiny gold works.

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