Ceramic; H. 6 in. (15.2 cm)
Gift of Peggy and Tessim Zorach, 1988 (1988.117.6)
This bottle in the form of a squash is typical of Chorrera ceramics in its minimalist, idealized depiction of the vegetable. Produced in southwestern Ecuador during much of the first millennium B.C., Chorrera ceramics reached a high level of technical mastery. Thin-walled construction and burnished surfaces were characteristic of these ceramics, as were simple, elegant shapes. Forms taken from the flora and fauna of the natural world often appear on Chorrera bottles, for instance, where the defining characteristics are meaningfully emphasized. The vertical ridges of the squash depicted here have been rendered clearly, thereby making the body of the vessel a collection of abstract ridges and curves. The burnished surface of the bottle, achieved by polishing with a rock or shell before firing, shines and is reminiscent of the skin of a squash.