Single-spout-and-bridge bottle: wounded warrior

450-650 CE
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General Description

The coastal society called Nazca (Nasca) flourished in the Nazca and Ica river valleys of Peru from about 200 BCE until 700 CE. Its ceramic tradition continued the south coast preference for round‑bottomed, spouted vessels with strap handles and colorful painted decoration. Enhanced by slip paints applied before firing, Nazca vessels had a more durable surface than earlier Paracas examples.

This effigy vessel depicts a wounded warrior in a seated position, holding his injured right leg. The form is typical in that the figure's head is fully modeled while the limbs are only semi-modeled in partial relief, and the remainder of the design is painted in polychrome. The warrior wears a zigzag-patterned tunic and a headdress with stepped diamond motifs and two knoblike elements. A fringe of hair is shown in a neat line across the forehead, while the sides of the headpiece fully cover the ears. Tied beneath the figure's chin and spreading across his back is a mantle enhanced by two mythical figures, each dominated by an inverted face with huge eyes, a white mouth mask with whisker-like extensions, and a long, protruding gray tongue. This masked, semi-human creature is associated with fertility and vegetation. Often called the Anthropomorphic Mythical Being, it is one of the most important religious subjects in Nazca art.

Adapted from

  • Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Vessel depicting a wounded warrior (1971.58)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 27.

  • Donald A. Proulx, DMA unpublished material.

Fun Facts

  • The pattern on the warrior's left elbow looks like a transfer pattern from another pot, having occurred during firing.