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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Chimu Art : Chimu Blackware Double-Bodied Whistle Vessel
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Chimu Blackware Double-Bodied Whistle Vessel - K.104
Origin: Northern Coast of Peru
Circa: 900 AD to 1200 AD
Dimensions: 16" (40.6cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Chimu
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The Chimu culture arose around 800 A.D. and flourished until the Incan conquest about six hundred years later. Their civilization was centered at their capital Chan Chan, about 300 miles north of Lima, literally meaning “Sun Sun,” the largest Pre-Columbian city in Peru estimated to contain almost one hundred thousand citizens. The Chimu believed the sea, which they called “Ni,” was the origin of life, a theory also proposed by modern science and evolution. Thanks to their sea-faring skills, the Chimu were able to survive, nestled in between the desert and the sea. The sea was everything to them: an endless supply of food and the source of inspiration for their most imaginative myths, legends, and artwork. Agriculture was also vital, and the Chimu drew up a vast number of irrigation works demonstrating immense engineering skill, some of which are still in use today. Today, aside from the astounding mud ruins of Chan Chan remarkably well preserved in the heat of the desert, the Chimú are perhaps best known for their distinctive black glazed pottery influenced by their predecessors: the Moche.

The artists of ancient Peru drew their inspiration from the natural world. The flora and fauna of the region provived a vivid repertoire of motifs which skilled potters shaped into memorable vessels. Some of these pots served a ritual function, others were more whimsical in nature. On this splendid blackware vessel a jungle simian with almost human feautres perches atop a spout while schools of fish swim in opposite directions around the bowl. As we hold it in our hands and coax out its delicate whistle, our senses are transported back to an exotic and myterious world. - (K.104)


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