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Zapotec Figural Terracotta Tripod Censer

Zapotec Figural Terracotta Tripod Censer

Regular price €650,00
Regular price Sale price €650,00
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Pre-Columbian era, Zapotec civilization, c. 600-1350AD, Monte Albán IV, Valley of Oaxaca, Mesoamerica.

Fascinating Zapotec tripod terracotta censer. The Zapotec (called also the "Cloud people") civilization was indigenous pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca in Mesomerica c. 700BC to 1521AD. Their capital was first at Monte Albán and the at Mita. Built on a series of mountain plateau at an altitude of 400m, the city of Monte Albán was the residential, ritual and economic centre of the Zapotec civilization. The city particularly flourished in the late Preclassic period when its population was as high as 20,000 people. Like most Mesoamerican religious systems, the Zapotec religion was polytheistic. Some of the most important gods were Beydo, god of seeds and wind, Cocijo, the rain and lightning god, Pitao Cozobi, corn god and Copijcha, the god of the sun and war. It is believed that the Zapotec used human sacrifice in some of their rituals.

Many cultures at this time were producing ceremonial incensarios (censers), but Monte Albán's in particular were often so anthropomorphized that from the front they are difficult to tell from figural sculpture. This compressed round censer depicts a priest or deity wearing elaborate headdress. The pierced ears were most likely once adorned with rings. Figural censers have been excavated from Monte Albán's high status tombs, where they were most likely placed as offerings to the dead. Good condition. Age-related wear and chip. Rich encrusted patina. Size approx. 21,0cm x 13,5cm x 14cm. 

Provenance: Finnish private collection

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