Sep 7, 2010

Feline Mortar and Pestle

Feline Mortar and Pestle

700–1 BC

Part of a set. See all set records

Stone, pigment

Overall: 5.8 x 11 cm (2 5/16 x 4 5/16 in.)

In memory of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Humphreys, gift of their daughter Helen 1957.494



Size suggests that this Chavín-style mortar and pestle were not used to grind bulky staples like corn, but instead pigments or plant hallucinogens used in religious rites to achieve spiritual insight and communion with cosmic forces. This set may come from Pacopampa, a site in the northern highlands where elites adopted Chavín deities and worshiped them alongside local deities. These small sculptures illustrate the appeal and the spread of Chavín religion.

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