Pre-Columbian, Peru, Nazca culture, probably Phase 6 or 7, ca. 600 BCE to 800 CE. A pretty kero (quero), a small cylindrical vessel depicting a figure known variously as the "underworld feline" or the "Nazca Cat Demon" in a repeated register around the body. Interestingly, the Nazca probably were not very familiar with wild cats - the only feline native to their homeland is the pampas cat, which in life is quite small. Fierce feline features in iconography may have come to the Nazca from contact with other Peruvian cultures. Size: 4.25" W x 4.2" H (10.8 cm x 10.7 cm)
This style of painting corresponds to later Nazca styles, when supernatural figures became the center of the artists' attention and their more fantastical elements - here two figures with enormous zoomorphic masks - are emphasized over their human ones. Nazca pots were made using the coil and smoothing technique, never molded; their wide range of polychrome slips included pigments made with minerals like hematite, limonite, and magnetite, as well as white kaolin clay. Colored portions of the vessel were painted with brushes made from llama and alpaca fur, and then given black outlines.
Provenance: private Baker collection, New Mexico, USA
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