Jar with small loop handles

Early Intermediate Period (Nasca Phase 5)
A.D. 400–500

Object Place: Perú, South Coast


14.6 x 12 cm (5 3/4 x 4 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware: light orange, orange, red, cream, gray, and brown slip paint

Not On View





Small loop-handled jar with rounded base and polychrome slip decoration portraying trophy heads, one of the most common and important motifs in Nasca ceramics. Decapitation and the display of trophy heads are a pan-Andean tradition pertaining to rituals promoting agricultural fertility.

The vessel’s flaring rim is painted red, and the lower half of the jar’s body is painted light orange. The shoulder area is decorated with six renderings of a trophy head, each painted a different color (gray, cream, red, light orange, brown, red) and with alternating colors of their rectangular head wraps (red, brown, cream, orange, cream, red). Thin red or brown lines separate the heads and extend downward below each one’s chin.


On bottom: "10/C" in black.


Private collection, Massachusetts, by the late 1950s; to MFA, March 2001, anonymous gift.

Credit Line

Anonymous gift