Quero (qero, kero) with geometric design

Inca (Inka)
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General Description

By the Spanish conquest, the tall wooden cup was called a quero (qero, kero), meaning “wood,” in Quechua. The specialized wood carvers were known as querocamayoc. Similar beakers of lesser value were made in ceramic, while the most valuable goblets, called aquilla, were made in silver and gold. This ceramic cup features simple geometric designs and thus likely dates to the Late Horizon (1400-1532 CE). It contrasts with more elaborate, carved wooden vessels, which reflect the development of inlaid resin paints during the Spanish Colonial period.

Adapted from

Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Inca: Conquests of the Andes / Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes, Label text [1976.W.1846; 1983.637; 1983.638; 1976.W.1129; 1976.W.1850; 1976.W.1849], 2015.

Fun Facts

  • In his 1976 report, Junius B. Bird, curator emeritus of South American archaeology at the American Museum of Natural History, notes: "Inca. No number. Kero-form cup, possibly colonial (compare with wooden kero No. 93)."