Figurine of a Priest Holding San Pedro Cactus
Arts of the Americas
On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
Aong with textiles, ceramics were the primary medium of visual expression in the Andes beginning one thousand years ago. One of the earliest representational ceramic styles was that of the Southern Highlands Chavín culture, illustrated by this hollow figurine of a priest holding a branch of San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi). The priest is elaborately dressed in a feline headdress, an animal-pelt cape, a loincloth, a collar, and large disc earrings. The hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus was consumed by Chavín priests to achieve transformative states and communicate with the spirit world.
500 to 200 B.C.E.
8 x 4 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (20.3 x 11.4 x 8.9 cm) (show scale)
Gift of The Roebling Society
Hollow figurine of a priest wearing elaborate regalia in the form of a jaguar headdress, animal-pelt cape, earrings, necklace, and white loincloth. He holds a stem of San Pedro cactus. The hollow figurine is in heavily tempered red to buff clay.
Condition: painted surface is abraded and losses are evident. There are some abrasions on right leg. Repaired breaks on both sides of costume, on back, and around base of legs.
Late Chavin. Figurine of a Priest Holding San Pedro Cactus, 500 to 200 B.C.E. Ceramic, pigment, 8 x 4 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (20.3 x 11.4 x 8.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Roebling Society, 68.97. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , CUR.68.97.jpg)
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