Description This spouted vessel was probably used to serve the corn beer known as chicha or other beverages in ritual gatherings. The earliest ceramic containers were originally modeled on bottle gourds, and the curves of this example, dating to the 2nd millennium BCE, are similar to vegetal forms. The bottle’s design is molded and incised. It shows symbols of the Staff God, the most commonly shown deity in ancient Peru. His characteristic staff, curled at the top, is molded in the bottom part of the vessel, and the curving horizontal lines near it may reference his necklace. This god is often associated with trophy heads, and around the “waist” of the bottle are five disembodied heads shown in profile.
Provenance Mr. Alexis Forrester, London, before the late 1970s [mode of acquisition unknown]; Economos Works of Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Private collection, 1989, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 2009, by gift.
Credit Private Collection, New York, 2009
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