Kero (Ceremonial Cup)

Kero (Ceremonial Cup)

about 1600
unknown artist
Peruvian Colonial
cup, kero
Lacquer on wood
Accession Number
Credit Line
Bequest from the Estate of Leon H. Snyder

Unknown artist, Kero (Ceremonial Cup), about 1600. Lacquer on wood; 8 × 6¾ in. Bequest from the Estate of Leon H. Snyder, 1978.288.

height: 8 in, 20.3200 cm; diameter: 6.75 in, 17.1450 cm
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Latin American Art

Although made throughout the colonial period, keros were used in the Americas long before European contact.  Made of precious metals, such as silver, for ceremonies, or wood for everyday use, keros were used to drink traditional chicha, a type of beer made from corn (native to the Americas). Wooden keros were waterproofed with a special type of resin from a local plant called mopa mopa and tinted with pigments.
     The central bands on many keros are reminiscent of tocapu textile patterns from elite Inca garments. In the upper register of this example rainbows, symbolizing rain and fertility, emerge from jaguar heads, representing the earth. Figures wear traditional Inca garments and can be seen between the rainbows with their outstretched hands holding large birds. The lower register contains large cantuta flowers, associated with Inca mythology.
-- Donna Pierce, 2015

Known Provenance
Gifted by bequest 24 December 1978 to the Denver Art Museum by the estate of Leon S. Snyder, Colorado Springs, CO. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.
Exhibition History
  • “ReVision: Art in the Americas” — Denver Art Museum, 10/24/2021 – 7/17/2022