Tall bowl

Early Intermediate Period (Nasca Phase 4 [?])
A.D. 350–400

Object Place: Perú, South Coast


18.1 x 16.3 cm (7 1/8 x 6 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware: orange, dark red (maroon), cream, gray, white, and black slip paint

Not On View





Tall bowl with slightly outflaring sides and rounded bottom. It is painted with geometric designs, a common decorative feature of Nasca pottery, which likely have symbolic associations. These motifs also are found on the contemporary textiles, this vessel suggesting a bundled object

The exterior is decorated with two horizontal bands of geometric motifs, which are oulined in black. The decorative bands are separated by a narrow strip of black-outlined gray slip paint and a wider strip of black at the base of the vessel. The upper band is composed of interlocked step-fret motifs painted alternately orange, gray, dark red (maroon), and cream on a white ground color. The wider band is decorated with vertically-oriented rectangles against the white background color, alternately attached to the upper and lower edges of the band. Those touching the lower edge are painted dark orange, and those attached to the upper edge are painted alternately gray, dark red (maroon), and cream, the sequence repeated twice around the vessel. The base and interior of the vessel are unslipped.

Geometric designs, frequently seen on Nasca pottery and textiles, likely have symbolic associations. The shape and decoration of this vase suggest a mummy bundle, a swathed ritual object, or commodities wrapped for transport or storage.


On bottom: "10" in green "2" (?) and "C" in black.


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

Credit Line

Anonymous gift