Description: A Nicoya Papagayo polychrome tripod vessel comprising a circular bowl with three hollow zoomorphic rattle feet modelled as coatimundis heads. The vessel decorated with orange bands on the rim and in the interior of the bowl on a cream slip, the exterior with segmented panels defined in orange below the rim, and the lower part of the bowl and legs with orange slip. Overall surface wear and some pitting in the interior of the bowl, but complete, NW Coast of Costa Rica.
Size: 125 mm/4.9 ins. in diameter at the rim and 90 mm/3.5 ins. high
Culture: Costa Rica
Date: c. 1200-1350 A.D.
Provenance: Ex Desmond Morris (born 1928) Collection, Oxford, and acquired in July 1971 from a London Gallery.
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 cypriot 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 pieces from dealers in London, New York and Europe. Following the death of his wife, Desmond sold much of his remaining collections (his famed Cypriot art collection had been sold much earlier to finanace 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 - buy only pieces that catch your eye and are somehow special. Perfect advice from a true connoisseur.
A rare opportunity to buy an object from one of Britains’ most distinguished private collectors.
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