Museum Collections - Ancient Peru - Nasca - Artifact #4

Vessel depicting a severed head - Nasca

WHO: Nasca culture

WHERE: South coast, Peru

WHEN: Early Intermediate Period, A.D. 100 - 300

WHAT: Trophy heads were used in shamanistic and funerary rituals and are depicted on many Nasca ceramics. They were taken from enemy captives by the Nasca in local wars. The wars were probably fought between chiefdoms over rights to resources such as land and water.

This vessel depicts an otherworldly being with a trophy head in its clutches.
Height: 18 cm

HOW: Coil-built and hand-modelled vessel; polychrome slip painting within black slip-painted outlines; burnished.

MUSEUM: Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art. G83.1.188

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