Arts of the Americas
On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
A common motif in Nasca art is the Anthropomorphic Mythical Being, or “masked god,” interpreted by scholars as a symbolic representation of the powerful spirits residing in nature. On the vessel seen here, the being is associated with agricultural fertility, as indicated by the many multicolored peppers depicted on its body. The figure holds two trophy heads in one hand and a club and some peppers in the other. Decapitation and the shedding of blood were associated with cultivation and the regeneration of plants. The figure is also shown wearing a hammered-gold mouth mask with snake imagery similar to the one displayed here. Snakes were linked to fertility and water cults.
Early Intermediate Period
6 x 7 x 7 in. (15.2 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
Ceramic vessel with double-spout and bridge handle and decorated with two classic Nasca figures with orange mouth masks, light brown protruding tongues, and light brown forehead ornaments on a white background,. The upper part of each face is deep red. Each figure clutches a club in proper right hand, and two trophy heads in the proper left. Multicolored peppers in horizontal and vertical arrangements fill portions of the space.
Condition: good; the spout and bridge handle are chipped and have been repaired; some flaking of pigment in these areas and across surface; and the number "718" is painted on the bottom.
Label from "Life, Death, Transformation" Exhibition, 2013:
A common motif in Nasca art is the Anthropomorphic Mythical Being, or “masked god”, interpreted by scholars as a symbolic representation of the powerful spirits residing in nature. On this vessel the Mythical Being is associated with agricultural fertility, as indicated by the many multicolored peppers depicted on its body. The figure holds a club and peppers in one hand and two trophy heads in the other.
Nasca. Double-Spout Vessel, 325-440. Ceramic, pigments, 6 x 7 x 7 in. (15.2 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.224.15. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.224.15_side2_PS9.jpg)
side, 86.224.15_side2_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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