Stirrup-spout vessel depicting seated figure with skin diesase

400–600 CE
more object details

General Description

This object is related to another Moche stirrup-spout bottle in our collection (1976.W.124), also depicting an individual suffering from the effects of mucosal leishmaniasis. However, this individual is at a more advanced stage in the disease, because he has lost more facial tissue and perhaps his ears as well; he wears a headcloth, to which his ear ornaments are tied. Without the cloth, he would not be able to wear this ritual attire. A similar object at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University (1989.8.72) also shows a cross-legged man with hands on knees, head tilted to his left, and ear ornaments supported by a headcloth. In the example here, he carries a bowl, and there is something painted on the surface of the globular part of the vessel. He may be performing a ritual act, and the object between his knees is part of his paraphernalia. The famous Moche owl shamaness vessel at the Harvard Peabody Museum is shown in this way with her curing mesa objects spread out before her.

Adapted from

Kylie Quave, PhD, DMA unpublished material, 2006.

Fun Facts

  • In his 1976 report, Junius B. Bird, curator emeritus of South American archaeology at the American Museum of Natural History, notes: "Mochica (Moche), Phase 4. *N85 Stirrup spout, seated beggar, mutilated and with feet amputated."