Double spout and bridge vessel with pelican and fish

Nasca culture (200 BC - AD 600)
From Peru

The body of the vessel is painted with a pelican holding a fish in its beak. Several species of birds, both marine and terrestrial, are represented on Nasca ceramics; although the depictions are quite naturalistic, it is not always easy to determine their species.

Birds played an important role for Nasca people and bird feathers were used as ornaments for high ranking people and textiles. A sixteenth-century chronicle written by a Spanish friar describes islands off the south coast where large quantities of bird droppings were collected and used as fertilizer.

Certain birds are still revered in the Andean region today. The people of the modern town of Nasca believe that the pelican and other birds, such as the condor and the heron, are manifestations of the mountain gods. To catch sight of one of these birds means that rain will fall in the mountains. Hummingbirds are considered to be the intermediaries of the mountain gods, or even a manifestation of them.

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More information


A.F. Aveni, Nasca: Eighth Wonder of the Wo (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)

R. Stone-Miller, Art of the Andes: from Chavín (London: Thames & Hudson, 1995)

L.G. Lumbreras, The peoples and cultures of an (Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1976)

J. Reinhard, 'Interpreting the Nazca Lines' in The ancient Americas: art from (The Art Institute of Chicago, 1992), pp. 291-302

H. Silverman, Cahuachi in the ancient Nasca (University of Iowa Press, 1993)


Height: 18.500 cm
Diameter: 14.000 cm

Museum number

AOA Ethno 1937-12



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