Peru Trio of Lidded Boxes Inca Designs
- Vintage item
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Pisac is a Peruvian village in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, famed for its ancient ruins. Explorer Hiram Bingham wrote: "...the Incas carried to a remarkable extreme the manufacture of graceful,symmetrical pottery." Ceramics made there of the local red clay, like these beautiful boxes, carry on their traditional polychrome painted geometric designs. The longer you contemplate these boxes, the more impressed you are with the intricacy of the painted symbols.
The largest of the round boxes was painted white, trimmed in black and painted with rust, black and brown symbols, including a flower in the center of the lid that has green leaves. The bottom was left plain, showing the red clay, and is unsigned. The piece measures 3 1/4 inches across and about 2 inches tall with the lid on. There is some minor wear to the black trim on the rim of the lid and upper rim of the box, but it's otherwise in great condition.
The middle-sized box was left unglazed, with the blue, red, black and lavender designs, including three llamas, painted right on the matte clay. This piece, the only one with a handle on the lid, is the only one that's signed, handwritten in black on the bottom: Pisac, Peru. It measures about 3 inches across at the widest and 2 1/2 inches tall to the top of the knob. This one has a 1/4 inch wide chip out of the edge of the lid (see the next to the last photo) and a few smaller chips, one on the black piping around the equator and a cluster of shallow ones on the knob handle. It still displays nicely when turned the right way.
The smallest of the three was glazed in orange and painted with red, blue and yellow designs that also include llamas and on the lid a ghostly white figure with long arms, very outer-spacey. The bottom's unpainted but has a clear top glaze and is not signed. It measures about 2 inches across and 1 1/2 inches high with the lid. No chips on this one, just a bit of wear on the black rim of the lid. All three boxes look great displayed together or separately. They're from a large collection of Peruvian pottery we purchased and are a nice find, since painted boxes from Peru are not easily found, especially with their lids intact.