Seat with Feline Support

Seat with Feline Support

800–1500 CE
Manabí Cerro Jaboncillo
stool, seat, feline
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Esther M. Luben

Unknown Manteño artist, South-central coast, Ecuador. Seat with Feline Support, 800–1500 CE. Stone, 17 ⅞ x 22 ¾ x 13 ¼ inches. Denver Art Museum Collection: Gift of Mrs. Esther M. Luben, 2005.151.

height: 17.875 in, 45.4025 cm; width: 22.75 in, 57.7850 cm; depth: 13.25 in, 33.6550 cm
Mayer Center, Arts of the Ancient Americas
Arts of the Ancient Americas
This object is currently on view

Seat with Feline Support
About A.D. 800–1500
Ecuador, Manabí, Cerro Jaboncillo
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edward L. Luben, 2005.151

Ecuador’s central coast region was occupied by the Manteño culture at the time of the Spanish conquest.  Fragmented into several chiefdoms, the Manteño were agriculturists, fishermen, and traders.  An important source of wealth was orange and purple spondylus shell, used in jewelry and prized as a sacred material throughout the Andean region.  The mollusks, which thrive in Ecuador’s warm coastal waters, were collected by divers and traded as far south as what is now Chile.  

Manteño shrines, located on hilltops in Manabí, contained low relief stone stelae, human statues, and U-shaped stone seats such as this one.  Most seats, which were likely made for chiefs or nobles, are supported by a crouching feline or human figure.  According to records, this seat was collected in 1907 by George H. Culpepper, an American archaeologist who took part in an expedition led by Marshall H. Saville.  The team excavated at a hill called Cerro Jaboncillo, where they discovered many seats.