A Costa Rican orange terracotta tripod vessel, c. 800-1500 A.D.

A Costa Rican orange terracotta tripod vessel, c. 800-1500 A.D.

Code: 2634


Description: An orange terracotta brown-slipped tripod vessel comprising a carinated bowl with three hollow zoomorphic rattle feet modelled as coatimundis heads. The upper bowl decorated with incised panels with alternate panels decorated with closely-spaced oblique strokes. Some small chips to the rim and patchy darker staining and some cracks to the lower bowl but sound and possibly with some minor restoration to the feet.

Size: 130 mm/5.1 ins. in diameter at the mid-bowl and 132 mm/5.2 ins. high

Culture: Costa Rica

Date: c. 800-1500 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 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 - 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 the collection of one of Britains’ most distinguished private collectors.