Object Record

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Catalog number 2002.7.44
Title Moche ceramic frog/toad vessel in orange and tan
Object Name Vessel
Description Moche ceramic frog/toad vessel in orange and tan, toad's body is half tan half orange and handle is orange, stirrup spout vessel used for drinking ceremonial chicha or corn beer, the toad was a shamanistic device to accompany the user into a trance or psychic flight.

The ceramic Vessel in the form of a frog or toad seen here is part of a long-standing Moche tradition of portrait-like ceramic vessels that included both animals and human heads. While it is easy to be charmed by these works on an aesthetic level, it is important to remember that it is likely that they were functioning simultaneously on a symbolic plane in what Rebecca Stone-Miller has described as an emphasis on verity over visual deception. In other words, it was expected that works of art should be more than aesthetically pleasing and always function on a higher, perhaps cosmological, plane.

The Moche perfected the use of a two-press mold to create many of their ceramics, and this stirrup-spout vessel was mold-made. Despite the use of molds, the Moche appeared to value diversity in their objects and there is no evidence of rigid standardization even amongst very similar vessels.
Renee McGarry, " Nazca and Moche Ceramics," in "Natural and Supernatural: Andean Textiles and Material Culture," (G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 14-June 1, 2006), 17.

Medium/Material Mold-made terracotta/Ceramic
Dimensions H-6.5 Dia-6.5 inches
Year Range from 200.0
Year Range to 400.0
Search Terms Pre-Columbian
South America
Moche 200 AD - 400 AD
3rd century AD
4th century AD
5th century AD
Exhibition and Publication History * Amy Winter, ed. "Natural and Supernatural: Andean Textiles and Material Culture," ex. cat. G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, September 8 - October 24, 2009.
Culture Moche