gold sculptural design of three humanoid figures. The primary figure is obvious royalty standing upon a platform being held up by the other two human figurines. The royal figure’s headdress is the more extravagant of the three, taking up the majority of the upper space under a second half-circle relief design. The other two humanoid figures also have on headdresses with a similar design to the royal figure, though theirs are half-moon in shape instead of geometric. This would indicate that they are in high enough status to wear headdresses, but are still subservient to the ruler who they hold up on the platform. All three figures are wearing large ear flares themselves.
Manwiller 2 The royal figure holds both a fan and a beaker, indicating this scene may be ceremonial, and depends on what might be inside the chalice. Beneath the platform is a bird, possibly an eagle; this is a sacred bird, however it does not wear a headdress or ear spools. The eagle-like bird looks playful and walks with something in its hands, possibly an instrument. Notably, the bird is flipped facing in different directions on each of the two ear pieces, thus indicating that they are likely meant to face each other, although in the display they are facing out in opposite directions. Otherwise these two Chimú pieces are fairly identical and meant to be a clear pair. In the scene itself there is the impression of motion with the two humanoid figures carrying the royalty through a ceremony of sorts, or at least a royal caravan. On the back of these ear flares, impressively more detail on the long portion that would be inserted through the ear, that same sacred bird is etched in low relief. The bird is repeated within a geometric pattern of an X. The gold that is on this portion is darker, and more worn down. A sense of lavishness to these ear flares gives these paired artifacts a certain inherent interest. Piecing together the visual aspects of this ancient Chimú culture in Peru via the visual facets of adornments, these metal pieces frame up aspects of what was important to the ancient royal class and displays a window into ceremonies of the time.
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- Spring '18
- Susan Aberth
- Visual Analysis, Metropolitan Museum of Art, piece, Headgear, Figurine