bowl - 952.128.7_1



Maker: Nasca Culture
Geography: Nazca Valley, Peru
Date: AD 200 - 600
Period: Early Intermediate Period
5.5 x 19 cm
Object number: 952.128.7
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. R.V. Le Sueur
Not on view

Agricultural fertility was perhaps one of the main driving forces of Nasca culture, probably due to the arid conditions of the environment. Most elements depicted on their pottery were animals, anthropomorphic figures, plants, or trophy heads, all of which were intimately associated with agriculture, the life-giving power of water, growth and productivity. The anthropomorphic mythical being became a prominent motif in the midst of fertility worship, as it likely represented a god-like protector of crops. This motif morphs animalistic elements into highly stylized, symbolic, and powerful spirits in nature. On this vessel, it appears feline and serpentine motifs were combined into one mythical being, enhancing the agricultural fertility theme. Both animals prey on pests found in the fields, hence their image as agricultural protectors. The plants / seeds growing out of its body and tail also exaggerate this theme.

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