Snuff Tray with Canine-human figure

Snuff Tray with Canine-human figure

A.D. 400-800
Culture
Tiwanaku
Locale
Northern Chile
Country
Chile
snuff tray
Wood, shell, turquoise
Funds from Jan and Frederick R. Mayer, Lorraine and Harley Higbie, and Alianza de las Artes Americanas
2000.200
. Snuff Tray with Canine-human figure. A.D. 400-800. Wood, shell, turquoise. Funds from Jan and Frederick R. Mayer, Lorraine and Harley Higbie, and Alianza de las Artes Americanas. 2000.200.
Dimensions
height: 1.875 in, 4.7625 cm; width: 2.313 in, 5.8750 cm; depth: 7.125 in, 18.0975 cm
Department
Mayer Center, Ancient American Art
Collection
Ancient American Art

Snuff Tray with Canine-human figure
Tiwanaku
About A.D. 400–800
Northern Chile
Wood, shell, turquoise
Purchased with funds from Jan and Frederick R. Mayer, Lorraine and Harley Higbie, and
Alianza de las Artes Americanas, 2000.200

Snuff trays were used by the people of ancient Tiwanaku for the ritual mixing and inhalation of hallucinogenic snuff.  This example has the typical rectangular mixing area, while the handle is in the form of a three-dimensional figure that combines both human and animal attributes.  The upright posture is human, while the head is that of a canine.  The figure wears an upper body garment with long hanging panels that resemble the wings and tail of a bird.  This subject matter is unusual, and may represent either a costumed deity impersonator, or a shaman.  

Exhibition History
  • "Tiwanaku: Ancestors of the Inca," Denver Art Museum, 10/16/2004 - 1/23/2005
  • “Stampede: Animals in Art” — Denver Art Museum, 9/10/2017

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