Stirrup-spout vessel: house form

CULTURE:
Chimú
DATE:
900–1450 CE
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General Description

The stirrup-spout bottle form was the most enduring decorated vessel type on the north coast of Peru. The burnished black vessels were produced through firing in a reducing atmosphere that transforms the mineral-rich clay color into this smooth ebony surface. Popular for over 3,000 years, this dark monochrome surface became nearly ubiquitous on the north coast during the Late Intermediate Period (900–1400 CE) and Late Horizon (1400–1532 CE) in the Sicán and Chimú styles.

The most characteristic element of Chimú bottles are the small applied figurines, often monkeys or birds, that appear at the juncture between spout and stirrup. Chimú vessels also incorporated mold-pressed designs. Principally displaying sea themes, such as fish and seashells, these mold-pressed designs continued through the Late Horizon and early Spanish Colonial period.

Adapted from

  • Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Inca: Conquests of the Andes / Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes, Label text [1608.61, 1608.65, 1608.104], 2015.

  • Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Inca: Conquests of the Andes / Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes, Label text [1976.W.228; S.1970.1; 1987.376; 1989.W.235; 2003.28], 2015.

Fun Facts

  • In his 1976 report, Junius B. Bird, curator emeritus of South American archaeology at the American Museum of Natural History, notes: "Chimu - Late Intermediate Period. R15 Blackware jar, form of house, stirrup spout with bird. Of potential use for exhibiting of architectural material (see also R2, Q59 and Q34)."