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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Ecuador : Terracotta Vessel in the Form of a Figure
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Terracotta Vessel in the Form of a Figure - PF.2261
Origin: Ecuador
Circa: 500 BC to 100 BC
Dimensions: 7.75" (19.7cm) high x 4" (10.2cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The art of Pre-Columbian Ecuador is essentially ritual art. Objects, which give us aesthetic pleasure, were not created for the sake of artistry, but to express complex, abstract cosmogonist ideas. This very intriguing vessel depicts a figure with a monkey face, a bulbous body, and a head fashioned into a rounded bowl. The small face is finely modeled and given considerable expression, especially in the eyes and delicate nose. Though reduced in size compared to the rest of the body, the face nonetheless stands out as a relief form against a plain background. The right arm is placed on the wrist of the left hand, which in turn rests against the upper left portion of the forehead. The monkey's sexual organ is clearly defined, and it is a matter of speculation whether the artist was trying to achieve realistic anatomical detail; or more likely, the figure has a fertility/ fecundity connection. Though we may not know its original purpose, this does not prevent us from enjoying the pure form, graceful curves, and enigmatic character of this remarkable vessel. - (PF.2261)


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