Effigy jar: figure holding sling

50 BCE-300 CE
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General Description

Slings were common weapons for ancient Andean populations since the Formative Period (c. 300 BCE). This Nazca (Nasca) vessel shows a sling held in the figure’s hands, while other Nazca and Huari (Wari) vessels illustrate slings wrapped around the head. Lightweight and portable, slings provided effective tools for combat in a rock-filled Andean landscape. The wide central band would support the stones used as weapons. While the longer strap or end with a loop was secured around the fingers, the short strap was released to launch the stone.

Adapted from

Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Inca: Conquests of the Andes / Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes, Label text [1983.W.2168; 1983.W.2167; 1989.W.2349; 1984.W.148], 2015.

Fun Facts

  • In his 1976 report, Junius B. Bird, curator emeritus of South American archaeology at the American Museum of Natural History, notes: "Nazca III-IV. 1 large modeled jar, JWA 6, a seated man holding a sling. Has been restored with some parts filled in, the surface in part retouched."