Bowl with Supernatural Being

Bowl with Supernatural Being

A.D. 400-500
Culture
Nasca
Locale
Peru, south coast
Country
Peru
bowl
Earthenware with colored slips
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank S. Simons
1969.291
. Bowl with Supernatural Being . A.D. 400-500. Earthenware with colored slips. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank S. Simons. 1969.291.
Dimensions
height: 3.5 in, 8.8900 cm; diameter: 5.5 in, 13.9700 cm
Department
Mayer Center, Art of the Ancient Americas
Collection
Art of the Ancient Americas

Bowl with Supernatural Being
Nasca
About A.D. 400–500
Peru, south coast
Earthenware with colored slips
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank S. Simon, 1969.291  

Painted on this small bowl is a supernatural being with catlike face that wears a mouth-mask, diadem, and hair ornaments.  It holds a club or baton to its right, while its elongated body (terminating in small legs) wraps around the bowl to its left.  The upper edge of its long cloak or mantle is edged with a series of human trophy heads with projecting tongues.  The Nasca people severed the heads of sacrificial victims (possibly war captives), then dried and preserved them.  The human head was considered the site of vital life force; trophy heads were therefore symbols of both power and fertility.