About this object

History of use

Shipibo pottery derives from an artistic tradition which appears to be indigenous to the Amazon Basin (Willey) reaching its fullest development among the Panoan speakers of the upper Amazon, such as the Shipibo. The geometric designs found on this pottery are also found on wooden objects such as paddles, textiles, and used for body decoration. According to Salas, these patterns derive from a cross and serpent theme. Characteristically, designs are formed by heavy and fine red and black lines on cream. Traditionally, uses ranged from pots for boiling meat and fish, bowls for eating, Chicha vessels for storing beer and effigy vessels for female puberty rites. The expansion into the art or tourist market is evidenced by the establishment of a pottery school, and individual recognition of a few potters for their skill (Salas).

Cultural context

pottery; tourist art

Physical description

Polychrome effigy jar with flared lip, slightly sloping neck, then sharp slope to shoulder, constricting sharply from shoulder to 18 cm. flat base. Two modelled faces oppose on neck, ears, nose and chin which jut out. Slit for eyes and mouth. Dark brown and orange/brown rectilinear motif on light yellow/brown, on faces and to shoulder between. Main design feature is thick outlined (dark brown) cross shaped boxes with crosses and other lines inside and out. Below faces are light yellow/brown painted torsos with 4 fingered hands, outlined in dark brown on dark orange ground. Zig-zag edge between arms and torso with triangles on line outside arms. Below shoulders is solid rubbed dark orange with black, carbonized areas. Outside rim is dark brown, inside jar is dark orange for half neck, unpainted for remainder. Resin coating outside and partially inside. Scrape across one hand. Some chips at rim, checking at shoulder.