Tall, seated figure vessels of this type have been found in deep Andean shaft and chamber tombs on both sides of the Colombia/Ecuador border. The figure's barrel-shaped erect body, lacking elaboration of anatomical detail, forms the container. The vessel opening is at the top of the head. Closely cropped hair frames the small face. The slight tilt of the head conveys a sense of animation, while the modeled half-open eyes and mouth suggest serenity. The figure's legs, worked in deep relief, are pulled up against the body and the projecting feet have no indication of toes. The spindling arms—the elbows resting on the knees and the hands held on the chest—are modeled three-dimensionally, the upper arms, perhaps, having served as handles. The burnished surface of the face and body is decorated with black-on-red resist patterns of crosshatching, concentric diamonds, and stepped frets.
Artist:Bernard Palissy (French, Agen, Lot-et-Garonne 1510–1590 Paris) and workshop Date:probably 1556–67Medium:Earthenware with colorless and transparent or opaque pigmented green, purple, blue, yellow, red-brown, and black lead glazes.Accession:1975.1.1620On view in:Gallery 951