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Feline-Head Bottle

Date:
9th–5th century BCE
Geography:
Peru, Tembladera
Culture:
Tembladera
Medium:
Ceramic, postfired paint
Dimensions:
H. 12 3/4 x W. 8 1/16 x D. 5 1/4 in. (32.4 x 20.5 x 13.3 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics-Containers
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Purchase, Nelson A. Rockefeller Gift, 1967
Accession Number:
1978.412.203
  • Description

    Ceramic vessels made up a large percentage of mortuary offerings in ancient Peru. Early fine examples were fired to create muted, matte tones of gray, black, and tan, with highly polished or incised surfaces. This tall bottle, with its well-preserved surface paint, is said to come from the area known as Tembladera in the Jequetepeque Valley of northern Peru. A modeled, stylized feline head in profile is worked on the front. The head is upended, and the long, conventionalized snout has teeth that continue almost to the top of the "nose." A looped-over tongue projects from the mouth. A smaller feline profile appears on the opposite side of the bottle. The feline associations are probably those of the jaguar, the most impressive wild cat of the Americas and one long revered in ancient times for its prowess.

  • Provenance

    [Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, until 1967]; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1967–1978

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
310652

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