Art/ Collection/ Art Object


12th–5th century B.C.
Height 7 in. (17.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Judith Riklis, 1983
Accession Number:
Not on view
Chavín-style pottery spread throughout much of the Peruvian highlands and coast in the first millennia B.C. Characterized by bottles with straight spouts and bowls with straight sides and relatively flat bottoms, Chavín ceramics exhibited extraordinary skill. Color was seldom used, save for the occasional red and silvery-black paint. Instead, decorative techniques, such as rocker stamping (a technique in which a toothed instrument is impressed into soft clay and then pivoted at one end), burnishing, incision, and modeling were used to create textural contrasts and depth. Chavín ceramics often exhibited complicated and exquisite imagery reminiscent of the types of mythological designs seen in Chavín sculpture and textiles. In the example shown here, a depiction of a fanged mouth, a popular motif in Chavín art, appears in low relief and dominates the body of the bottle. Its smooth and shiny surface stands in striking contrast to the coarse and stippled appearance present on the remainder of the vessel. Ceramics in this style have been found in the galleries and temple plazas at the site of Chavín de Huantar, and may be associated with ritual and public activities.
Judith Riklis, New York, until 1983

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