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Kero Cup

Arts of the Americas

The kero cup form originates with the Inca. The original decorations included abstract geometric patterns. After the arrival of Europeans, the kero evolved to include pictorial scenes, a European convention, but its function remained the same. Kero cups were used to drink chichi (maize beer) in ritual ceremonies, for instance in the sealing of a deal or agreement.

Although the kero looks similar to a European or North American colonial beaker, the two forms developed independently. The similarity of both cups in form and function created a link between Spanish and native cultures, reflecting the role of things in building cultural connections.
MEDIUM Wood; lacquered
DATES 16th century
DIMENSIONS 7 3/8 x 6 15/16in. (18.7 x 17.6cm)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund
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