SEATED DIVINITY REPRESENTING THE STAFF GOD

CHAVIN - Region of Kuntur Huasi - Peru

1000 - 700 B.C.

  • Height : 36 cm
  • Width : 15 cm
  • Depth : 14.5 cm

Grey basalt with a brown-beige patina.

 

Cylindrical and cone-shaped sculpture representing an anthropozoomorphic divinity, with human body and jaguar head, also known as the staff god.

The divinity is seated on a high circular base. The arms rest on the folded legs. It holds in each hand a scepter in the shape of a snake, one of its characteristic attributes, which has to be related to the lightning forewarning rain. The fingers and toes are marked by fine grooves. The head, pushed into the shoulders, has the features of another mythical animal, the jaguar. The wide open mouth shows the teeth and the four fangs in low-relief, which end with a double band. The nose is flattened, its wings are in relief and the nostrils are hollowed-out. The rectangular eyes are encircled by spirals representing stylized snakes and forming the arches of the eyebrows. The middle of the forehead is decorated with three cone-shaped protuberances. The ears are salient. The hair is represented by fine grooves starting from a central part on the top of the head. On the back of the head, there is an engraved snake with two head viewed from the side. On each side of it, there are two other snake head also viewed from the side. The top of the head is flattened.

The Chavin culture, which reaches its peak between 900 – 600 B.C., is essentially located in Peru, but stretches more widely along the shore, from the North Andes to the Pacific Coast. This civilization is considered as matrix of all the Andean civilizations. It is characterized by the cult of the jaguar associated with representations of the snake and the condor. The staff god, with its anthropozoomorphic aspect combining the attributes of the jaguar and the snake, is one of the most important divinities from Peru. The sculpture we here present is a beautiful representation of it and fascinates with its sober and geometric lines that confer great modernity.