Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • Do you see any people on this vessel? What are they doing? What are they holding?

  • The story depicted on this vessel is about hunting. Look closely at the body of the jar. How are the men trying to catch the animals? The hunter uses an atlatl, or spear-thrower, to hunt the deer as well as a net.

  • Compare the top and bottom of the vase. Does the artist show the same, main characters in both the top and the bottom? Explain your answer.

  • This vase tells a story in two different ways. The top half of the jar tells it \three-dimensionally and the bottom half tells it two-dimensionally. Why would an artist show the same scene in two different ways? Which part tells the story better? Explain your answer.

  • Look at the costumes of the man on the top and the largest man on the bottom. Are the costumes the same? Explain your answer. Both men are dressed in costumes that typically appear in pictures of religious rituals. They wear headgear that is probably decorated with precious feathers.

  • Where does this scene seem to be taking place?

  • Deer often play an important role in the rituals of present-day Peruvian shamans who ask deer spirits for their help. What "deer-qualities" would be valuable to a shaman?

  • The main participants in this story wear ornate, highly-valued clothing. These important people are generally depicted as being larger than everyone else, and they are accompanied by attendants. The deer have been gathered into a compound or enclosed area bordered by nets and ornamented walls. This compound is filled with a grove of special trees. Do you think this is an ordinary hunt for food? Why or why not? Although the complete meaning of this story is unclear, the combination of special symbols, sacred plants, and valuable animals turns an everyday hunting scene into an important religious ritual.