Pre-Columbian Art :
Chimu Art : Chimu Anthropomorphic Coatimundi Stirrup Vessel
Chimu Anthropomorphic Coatimundi Stirrup Vessel - PF.1422
Origin: Northern Coast of Peru
7.125" (18.1cm) high
| Photo Gallery
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
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.