Stirrup-Spouted Vessel in the Form of a Shell (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

1200–200 BC
terracotta with post-fire engraving
South America,Peru,North Central Highlands,Andean
Overall: 10 5/8 × 6 1/4 in. (26.99 × 15.88 cm)
One side of this vessel represents a conch shell while the other side represents a shell of a Spondylus, or spiny oyster. Both of these mollusks were imported from the southern coast of Ecuador, which is to the north of the Cupisnique region. As major trade items, the shells would have been considered exotic and were highly valued. On top of this vessel is a stirrup-spout, a unique handle that was produced as early as 1200 BC and continues to be a prominent feature of Andean ceramics even today. The engraved design on the top of the conch shell was fashioned after the vessel was molded-a technique unique to the Cupisnique culture.
Early Horizon
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sandford G. Etherington
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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