Stirrup-spout vessel depicting kneeling figure with skin disease

400–600 CE
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General Description

This object is related to another Moche stirrup-spout bottle in our collection (1976.W.123), but the individual here is at a less advanced stage of mucosal leishmaniasis than the other. He has suffered less loss of flesh than the other figure. His head is tilted back, as if experiencing a vision, and he wears a strand of espingo seeds, a known hallucinogenic substance. Espingo seeds are still sold today in markets on the north coast, in double strands as they are often pictured in Moche ceramic images. They are also part of the curing mesa implements painted onto the globular bottom of the owl shamaness vessel at the Harvard Peabody Museum.

Excerpt 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Kylie Quave, PhD, DMA unpublished material, 2006.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: "***P22 Surmounted by kneeling mutilated person whose feet have been amputated, holds one of his amputated feet in left hand and unidentified object in his right. Nose and portion of lip cut? away as part of mutilation. Mochica IV."