Ocelot-Shaman Head Goblet

11008642-1989_008_159_Dpa_ARC.tif

Title

Ocelot-Shaman Head Goblet

Keywords

Vessel, ceramic

Date

1 - 650 AD

Context

Early Intermediate Period
South America, Central Andes, North Coast
Moche

Medium/Dimensions

Ceramic
7 x 5 1/2 in. (17.8 x 14 cm)

Object Number

1989.008.159

Description

The Moche state religion, practiced between AD 1 and 750 on the North Coast of what is now Peru, featured ceremonial drinking from goblets. In the most famous ritual, the Sacrifice Ceremony, human blood was offered in a copper chalice to the high priest. Ceramic cups such as this one -- its residue tested negative for blood -- seemingly contained more prosaic liquids, probably fermented corn beer or chicha. Loose clay balls enclosed in the handle rattle when the goblet is moved, accentuating the act of drinking and then, its musical capabilities when empty. Rattling induces trance in addition to accompanying singing and dancing in shamanic healing rituals.

The subject matter is deeply shamanic as well. The cup takes the form of the head and neck of an animal-human transformational figure whose wide-open eyes indicate a trance state. The crossed fangs and headband, stretching the cat's body around the head with the tail down the back, indicate a shaman becoming feline. Although the jaguar is a typical alter ego, being the top cat of the Americas at 150-300 pounds and up to eight feet long, the spots here are not its characteristic rosettes. The long, curving, open spots signify those of the ocelot, a cat one-tenth the weight and half the length of the jaguar, but similar in its ability to climb, swim, and hunt. The ocelot would therefore aptly be the alter ego of a middle-level shaman in the hierarchy, just as the ceramic goblet's relative status would indicate.

Credit Line

Gift of William C. and Carol W. Thibadeau

Exhibits/Publications

MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2002 - June 2012|
'For I am the Black Jaguar': Shamanic Visionary Experience in Ancient American Art, Michael C. Carlos Museum, September 5, 2012 - January 5, 2013|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, February 9, 2013 - Present
Rebecca Stone-Miller, Art of the Andes: From Chavin to Inca (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1995), 105, figure 88.|
Rebecca Stone-Miller, Seeing With New Eyes: Highlights of the Michael C. Carlos Museum Collection of Art of the Ancient Americas (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2002), 225, figure 515.|
Rebecca Stone-Miller, "Human-Animal Imagery, Shamanic Visions, and Ancient American Aesthetics," RES 45 (2004): 47-68.|
Michael C. Carlos Museum: Highlights of the Collections (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2011), 78.|
Rebecca Stone, Art of the Andes: From Chavin to Inca. 3rd Edition (London: Thames and Hudson, 2012), 119, figure 103.|
Rebecca Stone, The Jaguar Within: Shamanic Trance in Ancient Central and South American Art. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011), Cover image, 168, figure 7.15 - 7.16.

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2009.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

Yes

Citation

“Ocelot-Shaman Head Goblet,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed November 18, 2017, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7422.

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