Glazed in a bright red and black polychrome, this figure was probably associated with death and burial. This fascinating culture occupied a unique position between Central America and northern South America, around the modern international border between Colombia and Ecuador. This ceramic work depicts a seated male figure chewing coca leaves, which can be seen in one of the figure’s enlarged cheeks. The figure’s face is painted along with what may be a woven band across the shoulders and chest, perhaps indicating a particular status among the Nariño.
Though they remain relatively lesser known than other Andean cultures such as the Inca or Moche, Nariño material culture indicates a complex understanding of and relationship with their environment that helped them to thrive for centuries. The Nariño also acted as vital agents of cultural and intellectual exchange throughout the Andes and Amazonia.
[Throckmorton Fine Art, New York, NY];
The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection, 1995-2010;
Gift to The Vilcek Foundation, 2010;