Stirrup-spout vessel with scroll ornament

900–200 BCE
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General Description

The ceramics most closely associated with the Chavín style are monochromatic vessels with textured surfaces. Vessels of similar style have been found in the Chongoyape vicinity of the Lambayeque Valley as well as in the Jequetepeque and Zano valleys. Ceramics with various Chavín-related features were apparently widely traded, making attribution on the basis of style difficult.

This example has highly burnished design elements that contrast with the rough, earthy body and a stirrup-spout that is characteristic of the north coast ceramic tradition. The texture created by punctuation on large areas is contrasted with the smooth strapwork used to form the scroll motifs. It appears that the punctuation allowed pigment that is now lost to adhere to the vessel. The adroit use of surface texture and the thick spout are traits of the Chongoyape style found in the upper Lambayeque Valley. The scroll motif was an important symbol in Chavín imagery and often modeled in low relief, as in this example, or becomes a dynamic three-dimensional inclusion.

Adapted from

  • Label text [1976.W.56], A. H. Meadows Galleries.

  • DMA unpublished material [1970.3].