Arts of the Americas
Small stone figurines, or conopas, of llamas and alpacas were the most common ritual effigies used in the highlands of Peru and Bolivia. These devotional objects were often buried in the animals’ corrals to bring protection and prosperity to their owners and fertility to the herds. The cylindrical cavities in their backs were filled with offerings to the gods in the form of a mixture including animal fat, coca leaves, maize kernels, and seashells.
Pequeñas figurillas de piedra, o conopas, de llamas y alpacas eran las efigies rituales más comunes usadas en el altiplano de Perú y Bolivia. Estos objetos devocionales eran con frecuencia enterrados en los corrales de los animales para atraer protección para sus dueños y fertilidad a los rebaños. Las cavidades cilíndricas en sus espaldas se llenaban con ofrendas a los dioses en forma de una mezcla de grasa animal, hojas de coca, granos de maíz y conchas.
3 1/16 x 2 3/16 x 4 3/4in. (7.8 x 5.6 x 12.1cm) (show scale)
Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
Small black stone vessel (conopa) in the form of an alpaca with a hole in the animal's back forming a small bowl. Stylized head with round muzzle, small rounded ears, a series of folds under the neck, short rounded protruding tail. Legs are not shown.
Condition: Some chips on tail, on rim of opening. Small shallow scratches on surface.
This item is not on view
Inca. Camelid Conopa, 1470-1532. Stone, 3 1/16 x 2 3/16 x 4 3/4in. (7.8 x 5.6 x 12.1cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.224.85. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.224.85_threequarter_PS9.jpg)
threequarter, 86.224.85_threequarter_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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How were these used?
vessels by the Inca were all intended for ceremonial purposes. Rituals for
fertility and protection occurred throughout the Andes, where farming, herding,
and trade were key aspects of life. These ritual vessels were filled with
offerings of llama fat, shells, coca leaves, etc. and buried in animal corrals
to promote animal fertility. All of these vessels come from the Inca, who built
an empire that encompassed nearly the entirety of the Andean highlands and coast
until the arrival of the Spanish.