Shell with Inlaid Feline

Shell with Inlaid Feline

100 BC-700

Spondylus shell with shell, stone, and gold inlay

Overall: 7.5 x 7.4 cm (2 15/16 x 2 15/16 in.)

In memory of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Humphreys, gift of their daughter Helen 1950.567

Description

This ornament is made of a spondylus shell, from which the exterior surface has been carved away to reveal a layer of bright orange. The pampas cat inlaid on the surface in multicolored shell and stone has bean-shaped spots on his body, and grasps a gold gourd or fruit. In both Paracas and Nasca art, the small, non-domesticated pampas cat is strongly associated with beans and other crops. Perhaps it was thought to guard the fields from rodents and other pests.

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