Copyright and other proprietary rights in material on this site may be held by individuals or entities other than or in addition to VMFA.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of materials displayed on this site will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to these works.
It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
Images that are only presented as thumbnails are protected by copyright and are not available for download. Public domain images downloaded from the VMFA web site should be credited: "Image courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts." Additional caption information is provided with the downloaded image file.
Requests to reproduce and/or republish any materials on this web site should be addressed to the VMFA Office of Rights and Reproductions at: (Address) 200 N. Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220-4007 USA, (Phone) 804.204.2760 or 804.204.2761, (Fax) 804.340.1548, or (Email) firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stirrup Vessel with Monkeys in Modeled Relief (Primary Title) Stirrup Vessel with Monkeys Modeled in Relief (Alternate Title)
Monkeys, which are native to the Amazon region of South America, were considered exotic and foreign to the Moche people of the desert coastal region. The naturalistic depiction seen here and the archaeological remains of monkeys in the Moche region suggest the artist’s familiarity with the animals. Monkeys were kept as pets and served ritual functions because of their foreign Amazonian origins and their resemblance to humans. The monkeys depicted on this vessel have protruding tongues, an artistic convention used to show the animal’s subjugation or capture. The restraints around their waists and wrists may indicate that these monkeys were pets. Because the people of the Moche region considered primates closely related to humans, eating monkeys was taboo.
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sandford G. Etherington
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC
Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.
Other Works In This Gallery
This artwork is on display in:
Evans Court, Ancient American
Use the interactive map to explore the museum
Search for art, find what you are looking for in the museum and much more.