The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of November 21, 2017

Sea Lion Pup Vessel, 200-850

ceramic and slip, Overall: 19.7 x 15.5 x 16 cm (7 3/4 x 6 1/16 x 6 1/4 in.). Gift of John and Agneta Solomon 2014.375

Sea lions commonly appear in Moche art as effigy vessels, like this appealing pup, or in complex scenes that often show them as the targets of human hunters. They may have been prized in part for the beach pebbles found in their stomachs; modern Peruvian folk healers consider such pebbles to have powerful medicinal qualities. Also, colonial-period natives believed that sea lions carried the dead to off-shore islands, an idea that could date to Moche times.

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