Oct 18, 2011
Oct 18, 2011

Spatula with Carved Head

Spatula with Carved Head


Bone with shell inlay

Overall: 11.2 x 2.6 cm (4 7/16 x 1 in.)

In memory of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Humphreys, gift of their daughter Helen 1955.57



Peruvian Indians today regard coca leaf as a sacred substance that creates communion with supernatural forces. The leaves are chewed with powdered lime that in antiquity was stored in containers and scooped with spatulas like those seen here. Aside from its ritual meaning, coca has practical benefits: it is vitamin-rich; like coffee, it induces clear-headedness; and it increases stamina. The lizard spatula is Nasca in style; the other is Wari.

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