Oct 18, 2011
Oct 18, 2011

Spatula with Carved Lizard

Spatula with Carved Lizard

100 BCE–700 CE

Peru, Nasca style

(100 BC-AD 700)

Bone with shell inlay

Overall: 11.8 x 2.6 cm (4 5/8 x 1 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1955.83



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.

See also
AA - Andes
Art of the Americas
Type of artwork: 

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