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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Peru : Stirrup Vessel Depicting an Underworld Scene
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Stirrup Vessel Depicting an Underworld Scene - PF.2047
Origin: Peru (North Coast)
Circa: 1 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 7.25" (18.4cm) high
Catalogue: V5
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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This fascinating figure is perhaps an allegorical depiction of a human corpse rotting in the underworld. The grinning skull is surrounded by abstract animals often associated with death, including birds that pick at the flesh and the serpent and jaguar that wrestle in the eternal battle of good versus evil. This macabre vessel is probably the Mochica equivalent of a 'Memento Mori,' a reminder that death comes to all mortals. Though we might turn from it in fear or disgust, its central message is as true for our own age as it was for the Mochica. - (PF.2047)


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