A wonderful Manteño shell mortar in the shape of a parakeet. This adorable miniature
mortar was de-accessioned from the collection of the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC
(inventory 67.12.12). Published in the book “The Pre-Columbian Collection: Mint Museum
of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina”, by M. Keating Griffiss, 1970 (object no. 94).
The ancient artisan produced this from a thick shell core to resemble one of their
more sacred animals - The Parrot. The head is detailed, and the main body (the receptor)
is a deep well that lays between the wings, finalizing with a short tail and legs.
Smaller prongs were used to stabilize the mortar. The author of the book states “A
carved shell vessel of an animal with four legs carrying a load, the top of which
is concave.” A copy of the book will be enclosed.
Minor surface wear and erosion with minor chipping and abrasions, otherwise in very
Measures 3.5"/8.89 cm in length by 2.25"/5.71 cm in height respectively.
Manta, Ecuador 700-1500 AD. - Ultra rare as mortars in shell rarely survive.
Provenance: Former Atlanta, GA private collection. De-accessioned from the Mint Museum
in Charlotte, NC, cited as a gift to the museum from Mr. & Mrs. Edwin L. Jones, 1967.