Portrait Head Vessel

Portrait Head Vessel

c. 200-550

Earthenware with colored slips

Overall: 32 x 18.6 x 19.3 cm (12 5/8 x 7 5/16 x 7 5/8 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James C. Gruener 1990.227



The Moche were unique in Peru in creating realistic human portraits, usually in the form of vessels that saw much use before they either broke or were placed intact in tombs. In general, such vessels represent more than 750 individuals; identities are unclear but most are elite men, some probably rulers. The large vessel may represent an important captive who, like some Moche prisoner figures, wears double earrings and a hank of hair over the forehead. The stirrup-shaped spout of the second vessel is a hallmark of Moche ceramic production.

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