Bowl with Modeled Animal

Bowl with Modeled Animal

900–1100 CE
Sicán | Lambayeque region
Peru, north coast
Slip-painted ceramic
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lindsay A. Duff

Unknown Sicán artist, Lambayeque Valley, northern coast, Peru. Bowl with Modeled Animal, 900–1100 CE. Slip-painted ceramic, 5 ¼ x 5 ½ x 3 ¾ inches. Denver Art Museum Collection: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lindsay A. Duff, 1986.407.

height: 5.25 in, 13.3350 cm; width: 5.5 in, 13.9700 cm; depth: 3.75 in, 9.5250 cm
Mayer Center, Arts of the Ancient Americas
Arts of the Ancient Americas
This object is currently on view

Bowl with Modeled Animal
Sicán (Lambayeque)
About A.D. 900–1100
Peru, north coast
Earthenware with slip and organic pigments
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lindsay Duff, 1986.407

The large and prosperous Sicán (or Lambayeque) realm on Peru’s north coast incorporated extensive agricultural irrigation systems, and cities built with adobe bricks.  Large-scale ceramic, textile, and metal workshops produced goods for local consumption as well as export.  Sicán nobles and rulers were interred beneath massive adobe mounds with spectacular quantities of goods, including gold and silver vessels and ornaments, copper axes, and ceramic vessels.

While many Sicán ceramics were mass produced using press molds, this bowl appears to be hand-made.  At its lip is a small animal, probably a dog, that seems to be trying to climb inside.  Painted around the shoulder is a series of supernatural animals with spiky backs, and tails that end in heads.  The creatures, which wear huge headdresses, have frontal or profile heads that represent the Sicán Lord – a deity or culture hero with comma-shaped eyes.  

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