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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Chimu Art : Chimu Anthropomorphic Coatimundi Stirrup Vessel
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Chimu Anthropomorphic Coatimundi Stirrup Vessel - PF.1422
Origin: Northern Coast of Peru
Circa: 800 AD to 1200 AD
Dimensions: 7.125" (18.1cm) high
Catalogue: V7
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: UAE
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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.

Ancient Peruvian Art has a way of presenting the fantastic, as it were an everyday occurrence. With imagination and wit, the ceramic art leads us on a wondrous journey through the unexpected. The exact meaning of such sculptures—whether magic or comic—has often been obscured by time; we can only marvel at their inventiveness and their sureness of touch. Here, a figure seated cross-legged like an Egyptian scribe wears the head of a Coatimundi. This is possibly someone in the throes of a drug-induced dream, a man identifying himself with the creatures of the wild. The broad smile at the end of his long snout seems to warn us not take anything we see too seriously. Across the centuries, we enter a world where enchantment rules over logic. - (PF.1422)


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