The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 3, 2024

Sacrificer Container

Sacrificer Container

770–890 (radiocarbon date, 95% probability)
Overall: 10.8 x 7 x 7.5 cm (4 1/4 x 2 3/4 x 2 15/16 in.)
Location: 232 Andean

Did You Know?

Traces of cinnabar, a toxic mercuric sulfide, are visible on the container's surface.


This container assumes the shape of a magnificent, feline-headed, supernatural sacrificer who draws a knife across the throat of the human it holds in its lap. Severed human heads hang from the feline's belt and dangle by the trachea at the back of its headdress. Sacrifice had a place in Wari religious practice, probably as an unusual and exceptionally precious offering made to entice the benevolence of cosmic forces. Indeed, colonial-period Andean people believed that death was a prerequisite for the renewal of the world.
  • ?-1967
    Erich Stumpf, Austria
    Anton Roeckl, Irschenberg, Germany
    (David Bernstein Fine Art, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Bergh, Susan E., Luis Guillermo Lumbreras, and Luis Jaime Castillo. Wari: Lords of the Ancient Andes. [New York]: Thames & Hudson; [Cleveland] : The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2012. Mentioned: p. 243-244, p. 278, cat. 164; Reproduced: p. 242-243, fig. 233
    Cleveland Museum of Art. The CMA Companion: A Guide to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2014. Mentioned and reproduced: P. 333
  • {{cite web|title=Sacrificer Container|url=false|author=|year=770–890 (radiocarbon date, 95% probability)|access-date=03 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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