A blackware vessel, depicting a couple engaged in sexual activity. The man is lying on his back, staring upwards with his head on a pillow. His partner is performing fellatio on him, resting the right hand on the left shoulder of the man. Both have large eyes, executed in relief, and both are wearing a cap. Two labels on the bottom.
There has been some debate among scholars whether this vessel is Moche (in which case it would be early Moche, phase I-II, circa 1st-3rd century C.E.) or early Chimu (same valley in Peru, but later, from circa 900 C.E.).
The ancient authenticity of the vessel was confirmed by a thermoluminescence test. A copy of the TL test report accompanies the object.
Steve Bourget, Sex, Death and Sacrifice in Moche Religion and Visual Culture (Austin, University of Texas Press, 2006), p. 65 ff.;
Mary Weismantel, "Moche Sex Pots: Reproduction and Temporality in Ancient South America", American Anthropologist Vol. 106 (2004), p. 495-505;
Rafael Larco Hoyle, Checan, Essays on Erotic Elements in Peruvian Art (Geneva, Nagel, 1965), translation of: Checan, ensayo sobre las representaciones eróticas del Perú precolombino.
Height circa 16 cm.
Dutch private collection; with Arte Primitivo, New York, ca. 1998; before that U.S. private collection, prior to 1970. A label at the underside of the vessel refers to a sale #46047, in which this vessel was lot #27, but we have not been able to identify which sale this was.
Repaired from a few large fragments; some surface wear and pitting. TL tested.