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Pre-Columbian & Western Art

The pot styled like the figure of a seated monkey

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The pot styled like the figure of a seated monkey
300-650 A.D.

Place of origin: Nazca, Peru
Materials: Clay
Dimensions: Ht: 19 Dia: 10.5 cm.
Acc. No. 67.296

This queer object modelled like a seated monkey is a serving pot with handle and spout. Besides a form, unconventional and somewhat funny, the pot, or the monkey figure, has been brilliantly painted : overall body - legs, hands, and back, black, and rest, cream white, face, dark beige, and spout, reddish brown. Cream-white affords to black pleasant contrast. Modelled in low relief and features incised, the figure's legs have been conceived as a bit elongated, and hands as holding a bowl-like object in the left, and a fruit-like thing, in the right. Though not realistic, the figure is quite expressive and decorative worthy of being offered to dead as grave-vessel, the main objective such vessels were made for.

An example of an evolved form of Nazca pottery, this effigy or grave vessel defines its later phase that sought to synthesise with utility goods a wide range of subjects from naturalistic forms of animals, fish and even human beings to complex stylized depictions of what could have been deities and symbolic figures. Though a monkey figure was a more favoured theme of Nazca potters, forms that emerged were diverse and many: bowls, Jars with a wide range of figures, spouted pots with handles... Besides the improved finish with smoother polish, baking technique was also modified from low temperature firing, to high temperature.

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