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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Toltec Art : Toltec Animal Effigy Vessel
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Toltec Animal Effigy Vessel - PF.3261
Origin: Soconusco, Guatemala
Circa: 10 th Century AD to 12 th Century AD
Dimensions: 5.375" (13.7cm) high x 5.375" (13.7cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Toltec
Medium: Plumbate

Location: UAE
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This beautifully sculpted animal effigy vessel was a very important type of commercial ware during the Toltec civilization. It was produced at only one place, on the Pacific slope of the Ancient region known as Soconusco. Such sculptural vessel from this region is called plumbate ware and the process which it was made seems to have been a secret. The plumbate ware was highly valued and was traded to far regions such as Panama.

Although the sculpted vessel shows features created with incision lines on the beautiful dark- brown surface, the vessel is known for its exceptional hardness--it can be scarcely scratched with steel. This effigy vessel is a superb example of the Toltec culture since most of its effigy vessels only depict gods, men, and animals. Possibly a mythical creature, the animal's head is intricately sculpted to show details. Its legs and the tail are minimally indicated and the upper neck area is unusually hollowed out. The round body is elaborately decorated with fluid lines and the neck of the vessel is also enhanced with incised patterns. This fascinating Plumbate vessel holds a fine sculptural quality, in addition to the advanced, secretive technique used to make such vessel. Having been made exclusively in one region during a brief period of time, this zoomorphic plumbate head is a valuable rarity from Mesoamerican history.
- (PF.3261)


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