Bowl with stylized lizard motif - 931.11.21_1


Bowl with stylized lizard motif

Maker: Nasca culture
Geography: South Coast , Peru
Date: 200-700 AD
Period: Early Intermediate period
11 h × 12 dia cm
Object number: 931.11.21
On view
Gallery Location:Shreyas and Mina Ajmera Gallery of Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific

Agricultural fertility was perhaps one of the main driving forces of Nasca culture, probably due to the arid conditions of the environment. Most elements depicted on their pottery were animals, anthropomorphic figures, plants, or trophy heads, all of which were intimately associated with agriculture, the life-giving power of water, growth and productivity. Often animals were seen as guardian or beneficent spirits of agricultural fields, as some ate pests or helped inadvertently manage crops. Others, such as the salamanders / lizards depicted on this vessel, are symbols themselves of water, and thus fertility. Both creatures congregate in places where water is or will be available, and so the presence of many of them was taken as a sign of rain. Carmichael argues that all representations of these creatures were sacred symbols due to this close association.

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