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Chongoyape (Peru)

Stirrup-spout human effigy bottle

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Object Details

Culture

Chongoyape (Peru)

Date

600-300 BC

Medium

Earthenware

Dimensions

8 1/16 × 4 inches (20.5 × 10.2 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Thomas Carroll, PhD 1951

Object
Number

2006.070.386

BRIEF DESCRIPTIONThis Chongoyape effigy bottle looks like a seated human figure. The term “effigy(…)

BRIEF DESCRIPTIONThis Chongoyape effigy bottle looks like a seated human figure. The term “effigy” is used to describe a sculpture or container that is made in the shape of a person or animal.WHERE WAS IT MADE?This vessel is characteristic of ceramics from the Lambayeque Valley of Peru’s North Coast.HOW WAS IT MADE?Coils were likely used to build up the main form of this vessel. In this method, a base is made by shaping clay into a flat disc. Then hand formed coils of clay, like ropes, are successively added to one another, building up the walls of the bottle. A tool such as a wooden paddle is used to smooth the sides both inside and out, leaving no trace of the coils. The figure’s eyes are made from clay balls and its arms from strips of rolled clay, which are typical of the Chongoyape style. Chongoyape and the contemporary Tembladera wares are typically colorful. The color comes either from pre-firing slip-painting or post-firing resin-painting (similar to that used in Paracas) applied within incised outlines. The lines are incised in the dry, leather-hard clay prior to firing in an earthen pit.HOW WAS IT USED?Stirrup-spout bottles such as this one may have been used to carry and serve liquids, since the narrow-necked bottle shape would have reduced losses from accidental spills and evaporation. Although water is vital in desert environments such as those found in many parts of the Andes, recent analyses of residues from Peruvian bottles and jars suggest that most of them were used to serve corn (maize) beer or chicha. Chicha was both an everyday beverage, made in households for family consumption, and an essential element in ritual and social interactions.WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE THIS?Notice how the figure is pushing a pig-shaped mask up over his head. The incised curvilinear designs on this figure suggest that it was made during the transition between the Chavín and Moche cultures. Incised decorations, areas of patterned burnishing, and elaborate modeling of people, animals, and other naturalistic themes are typical of this period. Later Moche vessels often have similar stirrup-spout human effigy forms but are not incised; their polychrome slip-painted decoration is painted directly onto the vessel.

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