This dazzling silver bottle evokes the enigmatic U-shaped structures, known as audiencias, near the great courtyards and storage facilities within Chan Chan palaces. The upper part of the stepped platform forming the chamber of this vessel serves as two seats or thrones for the central figures, wearing conical caps and large ear ornaments. They are each receiving two individuals, one wearing a similar conical headdress and one with a sack over his back, perhaps bearing tribute or gifts. The platform is decorated on all sides with shallow repoussé motifs reminiscent of the adobe reliefs at Chan Chan. The work is a rare survival of Chimú silver work, a tradition for which they were famed.
[Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, until 1967]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1967, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, 1967–1969; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1969–1978
Lapiner, Alan C. Pre-Columbian Art of South America. New York: H. N. Abrams, 1976.
King, Heidi. Rain of the Moon: Silver in Ancient Peru. New York, New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000, no. 13, p. 41.
Pillsbury, Joanne, James Doyle, Juliet Wiersema, and Patricia Joan Sarro. Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015, pp. 3, 23, Figs. 1, 20, 21.