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Double-sided figure

Due to their strikingly abstract, timeless conception and execution, Valdivia stone effigies are immediately recognizable even by untrained eyes. They are found in contexts dating to the last of the eight phases in the chronology of the Valdivia culture, the so-called Piquigua phase (2000 - 1500 BCE).

There is much discussion as to their exact meaning or function, but they are most commonly seen as magical objects, used during certain rituals to help channel the shaman's magical energy. They may represent divine, avian aspects of the shaman, perhaps showing him during the process of transformation into an owl.


- ZEIDLER J.A., The Ecuadorian Formative, in: Silverman H., Isbell W.H. (eds.), The Handbook of South American Archaeology, New York 2008, 459-488.
- GUILLOT-MUNOZ A., Les pierres gravées pré-Valdivia, Bruxelles 1997.
- STOTHERT K.E., Valdivia, Machalilla, Chorrera: Early Art and Artists, in KLEIN D. & CRUZ CEVALLOS I. (eds.), Ecuador: The Secret Art of Precolumbian Ecuador, Milan 2007.

Object information

Grey-green stone
Date and place:
Ecuador, Valdivia culture, Piquigua phase, ca. 2000 - 1500 B.C.
20 x 10 x 4 cm
Private collection E.A.J., The Netherlands, 1999; Collection Axel Vervoordt, Antwerp, 1998; Private collection, Belgium, 1990s.

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