Pair of Keros with Carved Feline Handles

Date: 17th–18th century

Geography: Peru

Culture: Quechua

Medium: Wood, pigmented resin inlays

Dimensions: H. 9 5/8 in. (24.4 cm)

Classification: Wood-Containers

Credit Line: Bequest of Arthur M. Bullowa, 1993

Accession Number: 1994.35.22, .23


Only faint traces of pigmented resin remain in the incised designs of this pair of keros. These designs show women in Andean dress holding flowers, alternating with images of a tree flanked by giant parrots.

Keros of this type depart from earlier colonial design formats. The feline handles permit the vessel's waist to be exposed during the ceremony of exchange and thus allow the main scene—which in the conventional format is restricted to a narrower upper register—to occupy a larger portion of the kero.