Stirrup-spout bottle with deer hunt

450–550 CE
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General Description

The Moche culture dominated the north coast of Peru from the first to the eighth century CE. At its peak, about 400 CE, the Moche realm encompassed ten contiguous river valleys. Moche artists were sophisticated metallurgists in gold, silver, and bronze, and their prolific ceramic tradition often made use of molds. Moche potters excelled at modeling, which they used to produce naturalistic portrait heads, plants, animals, and figural compositions, and they were adept painters. This vessel combines these skills in treating an important Moche theme, the deer hunt. The modeled three-dimensional forms of hunter and deer complement the delicately painted scene that covers the vessel. Seen amid the lacy branches of acacia trees, three hunters in elaborate garb have trapped three deer in a net and have speared another. Long-tailed, spotted dogs in the painted scene seem to attack the modeled deer that leaps above them.

Excerpt from

Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Stirrup-spout vessel with deer hunting scenes (1969.2.McD)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 26.