Stirrup vessel as a water bird

Object number
Object: Stirrup vessel as a water bird

Material: Pottery with a dark surface due to reduction firing.

Period: Late Intermediate period to Late Horizon of the Andes region, Chimú culture.
1400 AD to 1532 AD.
A thermoluminescence report from the Kotalla laboratory from 1979 is available as a copy. It dates the piece to the period from 1350 to 1550 AD and thus confirms the above dating based on comparative pieces.

Description:    The so-called stirrup vessel has a body in the shape of a water bird. The wings and legs are modeled in relief on both sides. A handle is attached to the top of the vessel. It is hollow with a circular cross-section, with an attached tubular spout pointing vertically upwards.
The vessel was fired in an oxygen reduced oven so that the surface took on a dark, greyish-black colour. A typical technique of the Chimú.

Background: The stirrup vessels are characteristic of the ancient civilizations in what is now Peru. The richness of these vessels' design reached its peak with the Chimor. Also the manufacturing efficiency was optimized in the Chimor workshops. Monkeys, birds and ducks decorated the pottery as full plastic or relief, as well as squash, corn, cacao and other crops. The stirrup vessels are a mirror of the Chimor society and of the creatures and things that filled everyday life.

Dimensions: 18.0cm height, 9.7cm width. 21.2cm depth or length of the bird, respectively.

Condition: Perfect condition. Except for tiny chips complete and intact. Sticker reading "4522" from a previous owner on the bottom. Unobtrusive holes from the TL test.

Provenance: Acquired by us in 2022 on the German art market. Previously in the German private collection U. H. Acquired into the collection in the early 1980ies from the German collection P. S. Previously held by the well-known German antiquities dealer Ulrich Hoffmann, at the time known as Galerie Peruana, now known as Galerie Alt-Amerika. The mentioned thermoluminescence report from 1979 was probably ordered by Mr. Hoffmann.

References: Cf. Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian, catalog no. 23/6883.
Cf. Australian Museum, acc. no. E18348.
Most comparative pieces show a duck. For the specimen offered here, however, the shape of the neck and beak do not support this interpretation.

Authenticity: We unconditionally guarantee the authenticity of every artefact, all items are subject to our lifetime return policy on authenticity.