Female Figure

Female Figure

A.D. 1100-1400
Culture
Chancay
Locale
Peru, central coast
Country
Peru
figure, female
Earthenware with colored slips
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cedric Marks
1980.402
. Female Figure. A.D. 1100-1400. Earthenware with colored slips. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cedric Marks. 1980.402.
Dimensions
height: 24.125 in, 61.2775 cm; width: 12.375 in, 31.4325 cm
Department
Mayer Center, Art of the Ancient Americas
Collection
Art of the Ancient Americas

Female Figure
Chancay
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.

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