Vessel in the form of a human figure with serpents

CULTURE:
Paracas
DATE:
300–100 BCE
more object details

General Description

The body of this unusual vessel appears to be the torso of a human figure with its arms thrown to the back. A multi-headed serpentine form encircles the body. When the vessel is positioned vertically with the rounded black base nestled in the earth for support, the separately modeled head thrusts upward so that its wide-open mouth becomes the mouth of the container. Stripes with two vertical rows of spots descend from the figure's eyes. The hair is plaited into four braids, two of which hang down beside the face while two fall to the back. The combination of a human form with animal or supernatural traits, including the meandering snakes and falconlike eye bands, probably indicates that the figure had a supernatural status.

Adapted from

Label text, A. H. Meadows Galleries.

Web Resources

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Read about a nearly identical piece in the MFAB Art of the Americas collection.