Lapidary and Bone-carving Art Items

The skull on fire

    The skull on fire

    South America

    20th century

    Quispe Aparicio, Luis Alberto

    Rock crystal, obsidian, gold; carving, polishing

    17 x 16 x 25 cm


    Rock crystal and obsidian carving - "The skull is on fire" – a physical embodiment and juxtaposition of cross-cultural references is seen in this unique sculpture carved of rock crystal quartz from Brazil. The shape of the elongated skull calls to mind the artificial cranial deformation, or head flattening, practiced by the Paracas culture which resided on the coast of Peru, south of the capital Lima, between 700 BC and 100 AD. In this modern lapidary rendition the artist has additionally incised lines into the quartz to suggest velocity or "flames of speed". The vertebrae are formed of polished gold vermeil, raised on a polished and bevelled rectangular base, with gold vermeil skull decoration at the corners.