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Large Jar

Arts of the Americas

On the South Coast of Peru a mythological figure began appearing on ceramics and textiles about 200 to 100 B.C.E. This mysterious figure, identified by scholars as the Oculate Being, may be an early agricultural fertility-cult deity. It is depicted with large eyes, an oversized head, an elongated nose, a smiling sausage-shaped mouth, and a protruding tongue. Numerous streamers flow from its head and body.

On the jar displayed here, the deity holds a trophy head, ritually taken in battle. The mask, which probably adorned a wrapped corpse, or mummy bundle, depicts the Oculate Being in threedimensional form. Twelve projecting tabs around the face include four double-headed snakes, iconography seen on other Paracas masks.

En la Costa Sur del Perú, una figura mitológica comenzó a aparecer en cerámicas y textiles alrededor del 200 al 100 A.E.C. Esta figura misteriosa, identificada por algunos académicos como el Ser Oculado, puede tratarse de una deidad temprana de culto a la fertilidad y agricultura. Se representa con enormes ojos, nariz larga, una boca sonriente con labios en forma de salchicha, y una lengua sobresaliente. Numerosas serpentinas flotan desde su cabeza y cuerpo.

En esta vasija en exhibición, la deidad sostiene una cabeza-trofeo, obtenida ritualmente en combate. La máscara, que probablemente adornaba una momia envuelta, o fardo funerario, representa al Ser Oculado en forma tridimensional. Doce proyecciones alrededor de la cara incluyen cuatro serpientes de doble cabeza, iconografía encontrada en otras máscaras Paracas.
MEDIUM Ceramic, pigments
DATES 200-100 B.C.E.
DIMENSIONS 13 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. (34.3 x 31.8 x 31.8 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Frank L. Babbott Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Large, black globular jar with a rounded base and a body that gradually tapers into a narrower mouth opening. The exterior of the vessel is decorated with incised designs of two supernatural deities, referred to as the Oculate Being, with large eyes and sausage-shaped mouths. Each figure holds a trophy head in one hand. A long tongue-like streamer emanates from each figure's mouth, and streamers emanate from their heads and bodies. Surrounding the figures are geometrical incised designs. Outlined designs are filled with resin paint in green, red, and yellow. The lower quarter of the vessel is undecorated.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Paracas. Large Jar, 200-100 B.C.E. Ceramic, pigments, 13 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. (34.3 x 31.8 x 31.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 59.197.4. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 59.197.4.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 59.197.4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Paracas. <em>Large Jar</em>, 200-100 B.C.E. Ceramic, pigments, 13 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. (34.3 x 31.8 x 31.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 59.197.4. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 59.197.4.jpg)