A Costa Rican zoomorphic vessel, c. 800-1500 A.D.

A Costa Rican zoomorphic vessel, c. 800-1500 A.D.

Code: 2703


Description: A reddish-brown tripod vessel with out-turned lip and a moulded ridge below the rim. A zoomorphic form modelled in the mid-body with long rear legs and the head with large circular eyes and long snout with sharp teeth apparently devouring the head of another animal, all modelled in relief. The feet of stylised zoomorphic form. The rim chipped with some small lose rim shards, overall surface wear and some restoration to the feet.

Size: 109 mm/4.3 ins. high and 70 mm/2.7 ins. in diameter at the rim

Culture: Costa Rica

Date: c. 800-1500 A.D.

Provenance: Ex Desmond Morris (born 1928) Collection, Oxford, and acquired at Sotheby’s London on 27 July 1971.

Background: Desmond Morris is a renown author (best known for his best seller ‘The Naked Ape’ published in 1967), zoologist, surrealist painter and passionate collector, noted for his collection of ancient Cypriote pottery, published as a sumptuous volume by Phaidon in 1985 (‘The Art of Ancient Cyprus’) which although out-of-print remains the best reference available for ancient Cypriote pottery. He first started collecting postage stamps as a small boy and then moved on to fossils and minerals, then seashells, then tribal art, then modern art, then ancient Cypriote art, amassing some 1100 fine Cypriote objects. He then moved on to collect Russian icons, and amassed a fine collection of Precolumbian art, then he moved on to Chinese art and finally assembled a collection of Algerian Berber pottery. He bought almost all his pieces at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London, when there was far more on the market than there is now, although he also bought some objects from dealers in London, New York and Europe. Following the death of his wife, Desmond sold much of his remaining collections (his famed Cypriote art collection had been sold much earlier to finance other collecting interests) and moved to a smaller house in Ireland to live near his family. We were fortunate to acquire a number of his Precolumbian pieces. Desmond always regarded it important to have one’s collection on display around you and not shut away in cupboards. His advice - only buy items that catch your eye and are somehow special. Perfect advice from a true connoisseur.

A rare opportunity to acquire an object from one of Britains’ most distinguished private collectors.

Photographed in both natural and artificial light.