an enigmatic work from the culture who produced the earliest figural representations in the New World, of pearly grey stone, this stylized and powerful abstract human figure idol is carved with grooves showing the elongated legs, with recessed eye area comprised of square pupils, deep grooves defining the torso, neck, and arms contains a crest atop the head stone. A rare example that represents the highest quality in both technique and artistic merit.
Ancient stone steles from Ecuador, such as this example, are the oldest stone sculptures known to exist in the New World. They date back from as far as 3000 BC and while each stele is unique, there are some common characteristics. They are all made from the same pearly grey sandstone and are also fairly uniform in their "blockish" form. The steles have four common themes: the owl, the serpent/arrow, the sun chart and the star chart. A consistent aspect of the owl stele is the formation of the eyes always done like the capital letter "B" that is on its side. This is an exquisite example of the owl stele. It was believed that the owl was a mystical creature of the night that had the ability to fly to other worlds and was therefore very closely associated with the Shaman.
Dimensions: Height: 21.59 cm (8.5 inches) Diameter: 8.25 cm (3.25 inches)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall. Custom mounted.
Provenance: S.B. private collection Chicago, acquired from the NY trade in 2001 and previously in a private Michigan collection.