Double–Spout Bottle, 1st–6th century
Ceramic; 6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm), Diam. 5 1/8 in. (13 cm)
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Emilio Sanchez, 1962 (1978.412.91)
Although no ceramic workshop has been discovered yet in the Nazca territory, the high technical quality of the pottery and the complexity of the iconography indicate that polychrome vessels were likely made by craft specialists. Archaeologists discovered scattered evidence of ceramic production (pigments, paint brushes, and polishers) at Cahuachi, the main Nazca monumental site. Finely painted polychrome vessels are well known as the principal vehicle of Nazca ideology. Double-spout bottles such as this one were used as funerary offerings. They were also an integral part of the ritual consumption of food and corn beer carried out at Cahuachi. The use of bottles with elaborate decoration was related to feasts, processions, and other prestige building activities carried out by high-status individuals and households. Nazca iconography includes a great variety of plants, animals, and more than twenty species of birds. This bottle shows hummingbirds with long thin beaks feeding on flowers painted at the base of each spout.