Drum, Ceramic, Nasca


1st century
H.17 3/4 x Diam. 10 in. (45.1 x 25.4 cm)
Ceramics-Musical Instruments
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Wielgus, 1964
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 357
Ceramic drums with central, bulging sounding chambers were made in southern Peru at the turn of the first millennium. Among the most elaborately finished are those of Nasca style. They were surfaced with the many rich colors commonly used on Nasca ceramic vessels. A favored form was one in which a fat-bodied figure was worked into the shape of the instrument, the rotund body spreading out equally on all sides and the legs drawn up in the front. The figure is depicted atop the wide mouth of the drum, over which a skin would have been stretched. The image is symbolically complex; a snake emerges from under the figure's chin and a killer whale outlines each eye. The killer whales are in profile and show the "two-tone" color differentiation normally given them in Nasca depictions. A headband is wound around the head and tied to form a hornlike projection on the forehead. In back, the figure's hair is shown as serpents with long tongues.
#1623. Drum, Part 1
#1623. Drum
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[Pablo Soldi, Lima, Peru, until 1957]; Raymond and Laura Wielgus, Chicago, 1957–1964; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1964–1978

Museum of Primitive Art. Masterpieces in the Museum of Primtive Art: Africa, Oceania, North America, Mexico, Central to South America, Peru. Handbook series. New York, NY: Museum of Primitive Art, 1965, no. 112.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, no. 489.

Sawyer, Alan Reed. Ancient Andean Arts. Urbana-Champaign: Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1979, p. 92, pl. 126.

Newton, Douglas, Julie Jones, and Kate Ezra. The Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Americas/The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987, no. 112, p. 151.

Watts, Edith. The art of ancient Mexico and Peru: Teachers' packet. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1990, no. 3, p. 10.

Moore J. Kenneth, Jayson Kerr Dobney, and Bradley Strauchen-Scherer. Musical Instruments: Highlights of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. First Printing ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015, p. 30-31.