Double spout and bridge vessel with hummingbirds

Nasca culture (200 BC - AD 600)
From Peru

The double spout and bridge vessel is one of the oldest ceramic forms known in Nasca art. This example is decorated with several hummingbirds flying around two flowers at the base of the spouts, a motif which is characteristic of the early phases of the Nasca cultural sequence. In some areas of Peru today, hummingbirds are considered to be the intermediaries or even manifestations of the mountain gods.

The innovative techniques and aesthetic qualities of Nasca polychrome ceramics make them unique in the Andean region. They were most commonly made by coiling. Slip was then applied, the vessel fired and burnished to a characteristic glossy finish. The slip was made from different mineral pigments such as manganese (black) and iron oxide (red). This represents an innovation on previous resin painting, and helped ensure the preservation of the vivid painted motifs.

The most common shapes of Nasca polychrome ceramics are bowls, dishes, vases and vessels with one or two spouts and bridge. They are reserved for the élite and are used as grave offerings.

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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: 13.500 cm
Diameter: 10.000 cm

Museum number

AOA Ethno 1913.10-29.1


Gift of Col. F.H. Ward


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