Seated Figure Vessel

Date: 9th–15th century

Geography: Ecuador

Culture: Capulí

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: H x Diam.: 19 x 10 1/2 in. (48.3 x 26.7 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Containers

Credit Line: Gift of Peggy and Tessim Zorach, 1988

Accession Number: 1988.117.11


Tall, seated figure vessels of this type have been found in deep Andean shaft and chamber tombs on both sides of the Colombia/Ecuador border. The figure's barrel-shaped erect body, lacking elaboration of anatomical detail, forms the container. The vessel opening is at the top of the head. Closely cropped hair frames the small face. The slight tilt of the head conveys a sense of animation, while the modeled half-open eyes and mouth suggest serenity. The figure's legs, worked in deep relief, are pulled up against the body and the projecting feet have no indication of toes. The spindly arms—the elbows resting on the knees and the hands held on the chest—are modeled three-dimensionally, the upper arms, perhaps, having served as handles. The burnished surface of the face and body is decorated with black-on-red resist patterns of crosshatching, concentric diamonds, and stepped frets.