Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Feline Bottle

8th–10th century
H. 8 x W. 4 1/2 x D. 2 1/2 in. (20.32 x 11.4 x 6.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Arthur M. Bullowa Bequest and Rogers Fund, 1996
Accession Number:
Not on view
The impressive polychrome bottle has a modeled feline head at the neck and a flattened canteenlike chamber. The front legs of the feline are worked in low relief on both sides of the flask, the powerful paws with pointed claws touching fanged animals in profile painted on the sides of the chamber in raised roundels. On the narrow rim of the bottle are two stylized figures with round, staring eyes, their tongues sticking out of toothy mouths. A chevron band encircles the spout.
Images on Wari ceramics from the south coast, painted in brown, ocher, gray, and white (outlined in black) on red, depict recognizable animals and humans as well as enigmatic composite beings. They are all part of complex narratives, the meanings of which are at present not understood.
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