Vase with faces

Nasca culture (200 BC - AD 600)
From Peru

The representation of human heads is quite common in Nasca art. Heads are either modelled into a bowl shape or painted on vases, like in this example. Some of them represent trophy heads, with the eyes and mouth stitched shut with thorns or other implements. Facial painting is often used to create complicated motifs. Personal adornments are also represented in the form of mouth masks, earrings and nose plugs.

In this vessel, two bands of simple geometric motifs are painted in red on a white background. They frame a band of human faces wrapped around the middle part of the vase. The only features outlined on the faces are the eyes, eyebrows, mouth and hair. Facial paint and jewellery are absent.

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Vase with faces

Nasca culture (200 BC - AD 600) From Peru


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: 23.000 cm
Diameter: 13.500 cm

Museum number

AOA Ethno 1941.Am4.34


Gift of Lady Dow Steel-Maitland


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