of impressive size with a commanding image of a stylized human face, the deeply repoussé features on a single sheath of silver, with large concentrically ringed eyes, sharply downturned mouth and bird beak nose, raised ears, and sloping chin, with a triple row of beaded headbands, and backflap of graduated tassels incised by cross-hatched details, the tall flaring spout with everted rim.
Cf. King (2000:cat. no. 25) for the type; also Sotheby's, New York, November 22, 1993, lot 41, for the large silver vessel type.
This magnificent effigy beaker represents one of the few large silver objects that survived the voracious Spanish melting of precious metals in the 16th century.
Head beakers made from one or more sheets of metal, were produced in the north coast of Peru by finely trained Chimu metalsmiths; under Inca rule after 1450, many of these craftsmen were relocated to the south in Cuzco. These large beakers were probably used for chicha, the fermented beer made for rituals and ceremonies.
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