Terracotta vessel ”Nazca”
Nazca-culture, 300BCE-600CE, Peru, South America, private collection from Copenhagen, Denmark, Ex-museum collection
Nazca civilization flourished in ancient Peru between 300 BCE and 600 CE. Early Nazca society was made up of local chiefdoms and regional centers of power centered around Cahuachi, a non-urban ceremonial site. These pyramid-like structures and plazas, situated in lower part of the Nazca Valley, served as important spaces for fertility and agricultural rituals. Nazca artifacts indicate that they worshiped a number of gods, or nature spirits. They believed that these nature spirits played an active role in Nazca existence and survival.
Much of what is known about the Nazca religion comes from their pottery. Their polychrome, or multicolored pottery came in different shapes such effigy or animal shaped bulbous vessels, double spouted bottles and round bowls. Nazca pottery was made by hand (pottery wheel was unknown) by the method of coiling, where a tube of clay was spiralled around base to build up the vessel. Then the sides of vessel, both in and out, were smoothed by hand. Before firing the pottery was painted by using several earth minerals. Because the Nazca had no writing system, iconography painted on pottery vessels were as important means of communicating shared ideas, religious practises and preservation of history. Not simply for everyday use, then, the Nazca created vessels for ritual use, burial offerings, and pure decoration.
This small pottery bowl has experienced and seen a lot during its well over a thousand years of history. The pottery was made with coiling technique, painted, fired and then polished. Geometric iconography is typical Nazca style. The pottery vessel has probably been a burial offering, placed in the grave. Good condition. Ex-museum repairing in the horizonal crack. Age-induced wear and abrasion. Size approx. 14,0cm x 13,9cm x 6,5cm. Weight c. 220g