Two Peruvian ritual vessels, Art Institute of Chicago

Incan Gold and Chicha Beer – Meaningful Materials (80)

Two Peruvian ritual vessels, Art Institute of Chicago
Two Peruvian ritual vessels, Art Institute of Chicago

How do artists’ choices of materials assign identity and meaning to works of art? How does meaning assign material? In this excerpt from one of my museum tours, I explore the meaningful material of gold in Incan art and culture. We also discuss the traditional Andean corn beer called “chicha.”

Features Works of Art:

Beaker
Inca, Ica Valley, south coast, Peru
Late 15th/early 16th century
Gold
16.5 x 6.4 cm (6 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.)
Art Institute of Chicago, Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, 1955.2587

Pair of Beakers Depicting Birds in a Cornfield
Inca, Ica Valley, south coast, Peru
A.D. 1100/1438
Gold
Each 7 x 7.3 cm (2 3/4 x 2 7/8 in.)
Art Institute of Chicago, Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, 1955.2589 a-b

Ceremonial Vessel (Aryballos)
Inca, Probably vicinity of Cuzco, Peru
1400/1532
Ceramic and pigment
78 x 49 cm (30 3/4 x 19 1/4 in.) (max.)
Art Institute of Chicago, Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, 1955.2214

Ritual Vessel Representing a Woman Carrying a Vessel (Aryballos) and Nursing a Child
Chimú-Inca, Lambayeque Valley, north coast, Peru
A.D. 1200/1450
Ceramic and pigment
23.9 x 18.4 cm (9 3/8 x 7 1/4 in.)
Art Institute of Chicago, Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, 1955.2411

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