Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Female Figure

12th–14th century
H. 7 in. (18 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Jane Costello Goldberg, from the Collection of Arnold I. Goldberg, 1986
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 357
After the influence of Wari waned, several ceramic styles evolved on the Pacific coast that emphasized mass production and the fabricating use of molds and stamps. In the valleys north of Lima, the Chancay people produced ceramics that are very distinctive in form and decoration. Painted predominantly in dark brown-black on white, the ceramics appear sloppy by comparison with many earlier and contemporary styles. However, the spontaneity of the decoration, the restrained color scheme, and the often bold painting lend the Chancay wares considerable charm. In addition to vessels, Chancay potters produced ceramic sculptures of humans and animals. Human figures, often made in explicitly male-female pairs, originally must have worn clothing. These two could have been made in the same basic mold with specific anatomical and decorative details added by hand. Both figures wear the same round ear ornaments—those of the female are bigger—but different headdresses. The corner-pointed hat worn by the male figure implies Wari influence since such hats were typical of Wari costume.

The function of the sculptures in ancient times is not known. Perhaps they were placed in tombs as companions or guardians of the dead.
Arnold I. Goldberg, New York, until (d.)1976; Jane Costello Goldberg, New York, 1976– (d.)1986

Related Objects

Double Bowl

Date: 15th–early 16th century Medium: Ceramic Accession: 1979.206.1149 On view in:Gallery 357

Seated Figure Bottle

Date: 2nd–5th century Medium: Ceramic Accession: 82.1.30 On view in:Gallery 357

Portrait Head Bottle

Date: 5th–6th century Medium: Ceramic Accession: 64.228.21 On view in:Gallery 357

Feline-Head Bottle

Date: 9th–5th century B.C. Medium: Ceramic, postfired paint Accession: 1978.412.203 On view in:Gallery 357


Date: 1st century Medium: Ceramic Accession: 1978.412.111 On view in:Gallery 357