Description This Chimu repoussé silver drinking vessel was made in the form of a human face, with prominent nose, eyes, and ears. The Chimu culture of the North Coast of Peru (ca. 1100-1470) was distinguished for the high quality of its metalwork, especially in silver and gold. Chimu metalworking techniques and artisans were incorporated into Inka Empire at about 1470, when they were conquered by the armies of Tupac Inka Yupanqui. Chimu vessels were made by hammering the silver (or gold) over a wooden form, and then soldering the joints. They are usually explained by referring to Inka rituals of exchanging and drinking corn beer from such vessels, which they called "aquillas" when they were executed in gold or silver, and "keros" when made of wood. Most surviving examples of Inka "keros" are wood, but we know that the highest status individuals drank from gold and silver "aquillas," like this example.
Provenance The Merrin Gallery, New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Private collection, 1990, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 2009, by gift.
Credit Anonymous gift, 2009
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