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Miniature Jar with Eye Form Trophy Head Imagery

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unknown Nasca

Miniature Jar with Eye Form Trophy Head Imagery

100 BCE - 750 CE

2 1/2 in. x 3 in. x 3 in. (6.35 cm x 7.62 cm x 7.62 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 69.1.437
Other Number(s): D63 (Canaday No.)
Geography: South America, Peru
Classification: Containers and Vessels; Vessels; Jars
Culture/Nationality: Nasca, Peruvian, South American
Collection: Ward M. Canaday Collection
Caches of decapitated heads with holes through which cords could be attached have been excavated at a number of Nasca sites. Called “trophy heads” by archaeologists, they are prevalent in Nasca art. Although the uses of the heads cannot be known for certain, a common theory suggests that trophy heads were taken as prizes of war—evidenced by imagery that represents warriors carrying such heads—and then used in rituals to promote agricultural fertility. This is supported by imagery that shows the heads with plants sprouting from their mouths or being held by mythological beings. On this small jar are eyes—an abbreviated form of the trophy head. From the eyes hang forms that could either be the victim’s hair or a carrying cord.

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • eyes - Motifs having the appearance of an eye, generally a human eye, as found, for example, painted or bossed on the bows of watercraft as protective devices, or, in Christian iconography, as the eye of God in the center of an equilateral triangle representing the Trinity. Distinct from "oculi (openings)" which are small round or oval openings such as windows in a wall or openings in the crown of a dome.
  • jars - Deep, wide-mouthed vessels used for holding a variety of substances, usually without handles and generally cylindrical, although sometimes made in other shapes. For narrower-necked vessles, use "bottles."
  • miniature - Use to describe objects and beings of a reduced size or scale compared to the average or normal range for its kind.
  • Nasca
  • Peruvian - Of or belonging to the nation of Peru or its people.

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image 69.1.437_BMC_b.jpg
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Additional Image 69.1.437_BMC_i.jpg
Additional Image 69.1.437_BMC_s_2.jpg
Additional Image 69.1.437_BMC_s_3.jpg
Additional Image 69.1.437_BMC_s_4.jpg
Additional Image 69.1.437_BMC_s_5.jpg
Additional Image 69.1.437_BMC_s.jpg

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:
  • Traces of Greatness: Selections from the Pre-Columbian Collection Bryn Mawr College , Jun 30, 2014 – Sep 11, 2014

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Donald A. Proulx, A Sourcebook of Nasca Ceramic Iconography (Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, 2006), 109. Figure Number: 5.103

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Miniature Jar with Eye Form Trophy Head Imagery |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=5/17/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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