Quero (qero, kero): plowing with oxen

Inca (Inka)
17th–18th century
more object details

General Description

The ritual consumption of maize beer, or aqha (a’qa) was associated with the agricultural calendar. The scene on this cup portrays an ox plowing the field, followed by a male and one female who plants seeds and another that holds up a pair of cups, or quero. Facing the other direction is another figure with a large storage vessel, or aryballos, in front of a building. The scene may recall an agricultural ceremony of late August, with the large flowers along the base symbolizing fecundity. Notably, this vessel was so prized that it was repaired with metal ties or joins.

Adapted from

Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Inca: Conquests of the Andes / Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes, Label text [1976.W.1851; 1983.W.1854], 2015.

Fun Facts

  • In his 1976 report, Junius B. Bird, curator emeritus of South American archaeology at the American Museum of Natural History, notes: "Colonial. **16 Kero, showing a man ploughing with oxen; wears Inca costume; followed by 2 women (Inca costume) and man carrying keros. Another woman has large jar for corn beer outside of a house."