About A.D. 1100–1400
Peru, central coast
Earthenware with colored slips
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cedric Marks, 1980.402
Brown and white painted ceramics were frequently placed in Chancay tombs as offerings for the dead. In addition to containers for food and liquids, sculptures of both humans and animals were common. While the human figures are sometimes referred to as dolls, they were not playthings. Instead, the figures likely substituted for human sacrificial victims, and were intended to provide companionship or service in the afterlife. This large female figure has a painted face and hands, but the body is nude. Originally, however, it probably wore a specially made cloth dress, and perhaps a headcloth. Chancay women’s dresses were rectangular in shape, with horizontal openings in the upper edge for the head and arms. They also wore patterned openwork cotton cloths to cover their heads.
Some images in our online collection are at thumbnail size, in accordance with AAMD guidelines, because they are protected by copyright. The Denver Art Museum respects the rights of artists or their representatives who retain the copyright to their work. Other images represent the best photography available and should be used as reference images only. Please complete the Image Rights Request form if you want to request a high resolution image.