CULTURE: Nazca, Peru
PERIOD: 0 - 600 AD
MATERIAL: Polychrome terracotta
SIZE: Height 5 cm. Diameter 13 cm.
PRICE: 400.00 €
PROVENANCE: From the private collection of X. Botey, Spain. Acquired in the 60s.
CONDITION: In good condition. Intact.
A poychrome bowl with delicate sides, decorated in tones of red, orange, black and beige. The figure of a fish in semi-profile can be seen inside the bowl. The upper part of the fish is painted grey and the lower part in an orange tone. The two colours are separated by a beige band that goes from the mouth to the tail of the fish. In both sections there are a series of spines, three on the upper edge and three on the lower, which would seem to indicate that this is a puffer fish. The fish is outlined with a fine black line, a characteristic of Nazca pottery. There are various details that give more texture and more realism to the figure, like the brush strokes at the upper edge of the figure making up the typical spines of the puffer fish, the three lines radiating from the eye of the fish and winding around its head, typical of the morphology of these animals, and the tail fin with a rounded dentate edge. The interior of the rim of the bowl is painted a red colour with six groups of parallel lines in beige distributed around the red band forming a border. The outer face of the bowl is painted in two colours. The outer side of the rim is of the same red tones as its interior while the bottom of the bowl is a beige colour.
The Nazca culture of ancient Peru developed mainly in the valleys of the present department of Ica, around the 1st Century and began to decline in the 7th Century. Its centre was located in Cahuachi, on the left bank of the Rio Grande, in the present province of Nazca. Its area of influence ranged from Chincha in the north to Arequipa in the south and east to Ayacucho. This contact was particularly important in the formation of the Huari culture.
The most distinctive aspect of the Nazca culture is the polychrome pottery with figures of men, animals, plants and mythological beings. It contrasts with the works of cultures around it for the explosion of colours in rich tones and the solid colours used in decoration. Textile art flourished as much as at the time of the Paracas, and just as in the pottery, the iconography of the textiles was very vivid in its colours. The most impressive aspect of this civilization is the the creation of marks made in the Pampas of Nazca and in other sites on the south coast of Peru. The marks, known as Nazca Lines, are located in a geographical area with low rainfall, demonstrating a knowledge on their part of geography and meteorology.