Although made throughout the colonial period, keros were used in the Americas long before European contact. Made of precious metals, such as silver, for ceremonies, or wood for everyday use, keros were used to drink traditional chicha, a type of beer made from corn (native to the Americas). Wooden keros were waterproofed with a special type of resin from a local plant called mopa mopa and tinted with pigments.
The central bands on many keros are reminiscent of tocapu textile patterns from elite Inca garments. In the upper register of this example rainbows, symbolizing rain and fertility, emerge from jaguar heads, representing the earth. Figures wear traditional Inca garments and can be seen between the rainbows with their outstretched hands holding large birds. The lower register contains large cantuta flowers, associated with Inca mythology.
-- Donna Pierce, 2015
- “ReVision: Art in the Americas” — Denver Art Museum, 2/16/2020 – 11/8/2020