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Ceremonial Human Figure Vessel

850-1500 CE
Precolumbian
14 1/2 in. (36.8 cm)

Unknown, Capuli
Colombian

Object Type: Ceramics
Medium and Support: Fired earthenware
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Hutchinson
Accession Number: 1951.49
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object

This vessel is in the form of a stylized human holding a bowl, perhaps making a coca offering. Death, marriage, and almost any other social or religious ritual once included an offering of coca. Possessing ceremonial significance, the leaves of the coca plant have also been used in the Andean region for hundreds of years to treat ailments ranging from dysentery to altitude sickness.

There is a small opening in the top of the vessel suggesting it may have been used to hold cremated human remains. The slit eyes may indicate death or a trance state.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

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