Earthenware with colored slips
Overall: 22 x 20.5 x 24.5 cm (8 11/16 x 8 1/16 x 9 5/8 in.)
James Albert and Mary Gardiner Ford Memorial Fund 1997.2
The Nasca people were organized politically into small, competing chiefdoms, and warfare was common. This vessel represents a freshly severed human head (probably that of a captured and sacrificed prisoner) with staring eyes, gaping mouth, and blood-red underside. Modeling of the mouth cavity, tongue, and teeth lends the image a startling realism. Human sacrifice by decapitation was a central element of Nasca religion, essential to agricultural fertility. Severed heads were emptied and dried, then pierced through the forehead and suspended from a thick cord. Such preserved heads have been recovered from offering deposits and from tombs, where they were buried with their captors.
The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email email@example.com.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
Is something not working on this page? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email email@example.com.