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Dish with Bean Imagery
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Dish with Bean Imagery

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Nazca pottery is famous for its elegantly proportioned vessels with very thin walls. Surfaces are hard, very shiny, and typically survive for thousands of years in pristine condition. Nazca ceramics are painted with elaborate designs, symbolic motifs, or pictorial narratives, and their wide variety of hues surpasses all Andean ceramic traditions. The aesthetic focus is on precisely drafted outlines and color fields, which lend clarity and gracefulness to the otherwise simple pattern of beans that decorates this small dish. While the Humboldt Current brings marine riches to the Peruvian coast, it also produces one of the world's driest deserts. To survive in such an inhospitable environment, coastal peoples constructed extensive and elaborate irrigation systems to channel waters from the highlands to the rich but arid soils of the coast. The Nazca are renowned for their underground systems of canals that reduced the loss of water from surface evaporation. Thus the region was able to grow prodigious amounts of food, especially beans, maize, squash and a variety of fruits, all of which were valuable commodities throughout the Andes.
  • 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 Ron Messick Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico; purchased by John G. Bourne, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1997; given to Walters Art Museum, 2013.
Credit Gift of John G. Bourne, 2013

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200-300 CE (Early Intermediate Phases II-III)
earthenware, burnished slip paint
Accession Number
H: 1 3/4 x Diam: 3 13/16 in. (4.45 x 9.65 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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