Pre-Columbian & Western Art

The pot modelled like an animal

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The pot modelled like an animal
300-650 A.D.

Place of origin: Nazca, Peru
Materials: Clay
Dimensions: Ht. 11.5 L. 17.7 cm.
Acc. No. 67.289

This elongated figure of a greedy cat with eyes fixed on its prey is a novel style of a serving pot - a kettle with a spout and a handle, the handle replacing the cat's tail. The white-spotted deep brown cat, with its legs gathered completely under its fur, upwards turned face, ears raised as when extra vigilant, and closed mouth as when fixed at the target, is poised fully alert to charge at its prey the moment it detected its slightest movement. The figure&rsquos poise and demeanour of the face reveals the animal&rsquos mind.

As almost all early cultures reveal, conceiving articles of day-today use, especially pottery, in personalized forms or in the forms of familiar animals, domestic or others, was a common practice of potters all over, and this spouted pot is one of its examples. This pot with handle and spout in the form of a cat evidences a certain extent of evolution in the art of clay modelling which blended an art form: any naturalistic form of an animal and human being, with a utility article. The artefact is painted reddish brown with patches of off-white. Baked with high temperature firing and beautifully finished and polished the Nazca earthen wares achieve great artistic excellence and technical maturity.

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