Description This tall, narrow vessel shows a male figure grasping two staffs with pumas heads on them. He wears an extravagant headdress from which extend two serpent-headed rays. Above his head, in a separate panel, stands a bird which also wears elaborate headgear. The whole background of the scene is dotted with black designs, suggesting bird footprints. The theme of birds is reinforced by the form of the vessel itself: one of the small knobs by the vessel’s mouth resembles a tiny head with a beak. The other knob is pierced, suggesting that a cover for the vessel could be tied in place with a string looped through the one knob and secured by the bird’s head. While the vessel itself seems to be authentic, the painted decoration on this ceramic may be over-restored or added later. The pigments are unusual in color and texture, and while designs such as this one are common on painted textiles from the Chancay culture, they are uncommon for ceramic decorations. Further research may reveal more about the original decoration of this vessel.
- Art of Ancient America, 1500 B.C.-1400 A.D.. Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe. 1998-2008.
- Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas: The John Bourne Collection Gift. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville. 2012-2013.
Provenance Economos Works of Art [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; John G. Bourne, 1990s, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 2009, by gift.
Credit Gift of John Bourne, 2009
Download Image Add to Collection Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Creative Commons License