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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Chavin Art : Chavin Blackware Stirrup Vessel in the Form of a Jaguar
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Chavin Blackware Stirrup Vessel in the Form of a Jaguar - K.120
Origin: Peru
Circa: 900 BC to 500 BC

Catalogue: V5
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The vessel portion of this object rests on the back of a beautifully modeled jaguar. The animal lies comfortably with its front feet extended, while he turns his bulbous eyes upwards as if watching a bird in a tree. His open mouth exposes very sharp and very realistic teeth. Incised lines in sharp triangular shapes cleverly represent whiskers. Pointed ears provide added realism, and also a perfect structural balance to the extension of the spout. The artist has obviously allowed the sculptural element to predominate over the purely functional nature of the vessel. Jaguar cults proliferated in Mesoamerica and their elaborate rituals involved using various substances, both in liquid and dry form. The excellent quality of this vessel attests to its having been made for a wealthy individual, who no doubt took pride in owning an object of beauty and great charm. - (K.120)


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