Stirrup-spout vessel in the form of a temple

1200–800 BCE
more object details

General Description

This vessel represents a two-level temple with an oval plan, two narrow stairways (front and back), and a flat, beamed roof. Its closest architectural comparison lies not in the river valleys of the north coast, where the vessel was probably made, but in the highlands and in prototypes constructed a thousand years earlier than the vessel itself. Thus, it may represent interaction between coastal and highland cultures in Peru's early history.

Constructions similar in plan and proportions have been discovered at La Galgada, on the upper reaches of the Santa River, between the Jequetepeque Valley and Chavín de Huántar. La Galgada builders used fine quarrystone masonry, which they covered with mud plaster to form a smooth surface. The vast rooms had a fire pit at the center. Niches on the interior walls and a low bench around the perimeter probably served ceremonial functions. Post holes in the floors suggest that these enclosures could have been roofed. Apparently, the rooms were later ritually filled and used as tomb chambers.

Excerpt from

Label text, A. H. Meadows Galleries.

Fun Facts

  • In his 1976 report, Junius B. Bird, curator emeritus of South American archaeology at the American Museum of Natural History, notes: "***Q34. Architectural body presumably a temple structure."