DUHO, BLACK OLIVINE CEREMONIAL SEAT

TAÏNO – Dominican Republic

1000 – 1500 A.D.

Height : 6.7 cm – Length : 25.8 cm – Width : 20.1 cm

Stone composed of amphibole and black olivine

Provenance

Former collection André Emmerich before 1968

Former collection Guy Joussemet since 1968

Galerie Mermoz Collection since 2011

 

The animal’s flat back serves as a seat and four breast-shaped feet support it. The head of the animal is projected forward and stays at the same level as the back. It mixes human characters with those of the owl. The straight mouth is open. The bird-bill-shaped nose is flattened and two large circular eyes are hollowed out.

A thin engraved line delimits the perimeter of the seat and plays on the contrast between the polished black stone and the matte aspect of the engraving. Curvilinear and geometric motifs adorn the lower back and were probably inspired by the vision of shamans in trance.

Duhos are an important component of Tainos rituals and their use is intimately linked to power and prestige. The shaman sat down and took a fetal position and made contact with the gods and ancestors. During this ceremony, the shaman associated with the Duho another object with a strong symbolic character, the Zémi or trigonolithe linked to the notion of fertility and abundance.

These objects are at the very origin of the social, economic and political foundation of the Tainos.

Taino culture is an Amerindian civilization that occupied the Greater Antilles between the 9th and the beginning of the 16th century AD. The Tainos were the first people that Columbus met during his travels, but they were also the first to disappear radically, only twenty years after the arrival of the Spaniards. The Taïnos artistic productions are remarkable and testify to the technical mastery of their artists, as well as their great inspiration.