Featured Nasca Pottery
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Cumbrous Bowl with Trophy Head ImageryLate Nasca
400 - 600
2 3/8 in. x 7 11/16 in. x 7 11/16 in. (6 cm x 19.5 cm x 19.5 cm)
Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 69.1.344
Other Number(s): E.64 (Canaday No.)
Geography: South America, Peru
Classification: Containers and Vessels; Vessels; Bowls
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.
This object has the following keywords:
- bowls - Rounded, cuplike, hollow parts of objects, such as the body of a stemmed vessel or the part of a pipe in which tobacco is burned.
- bowls - Rounded vessels that are generally wider than they are high, usually hemispherical or nearly so. A bowl may have a spreading base or foot ring and sometimes two handles or a cover. Distinguished from a cup, which is rather deep than wide.
- heads - Representations of the heads of humans, animals, or mythical or legendary beings.
- Middle Horizon - The fifth of the seven main chronological phases recognized in Andean archaeology, generally dating 600-1000 CE.
- Peruvian - Of or belonging to the nation of Peru or its people.
- vessels - Containers designed to serve as receptacles for a liquid or other substance, usually those of circular section and made of some durable material; especially containers of this nature in domestic use, employed in connection with the preparation or serving of food or drink, and usually of a size suitable for carrying by hand.
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
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), 102-106. Figure Number: 5.94
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