Stone with shell inlay
Overall: 9.5 x 9.2 cm (3 3/4 x 3 5/8 in.)
Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2019.169
The inlay is made of spondylus (thorny oyster) shell, a form of wealth in antiquity.
The identity of the four, wide-eyed faces on this cup is unknown. Equally mysterious is the cup’s function. It seems too small to be used for drinking beer at the feasts the Wari sponsored to put others in their debt. The size may suggest the cup was used in more intimate circumstances, perhaps to make libations to sacred forces that animated the ancient landscape.
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