Description This very shiny black Chimú vessel has two quite different images on its sides. On one side is an important ruler or lord, whose power is reinforced by the two staffs he holds in each hand. He also wears an elaborate tunic and jewelry, and has a small attendant, who offers him a cup, probably filled with the fermented corn beverage chicha, which was used in all ritual occasions. On the other side of the vessel is a disembodied face, possibly referencing a trophy head and the taking of enemies’ heads in warfare. However, due to the appearance of old age in the head, it may also refer to a deity related to fertility that appears in many Andean ceramics. The glossy surface of the vessel is created by allowing smoke from the burning of wood to permeate ceramics in the kiln. Such shiny dark ceramics were highly prized by the Chimú.
Provenance New World Antiquities, San Francisco [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Private collection, 1988, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 2009, by gift.
Credit Anonymous gift, 2009
Download Image Add to Collection Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Creative Commons License