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Funerary Mask

Arts of the Americas

This colorful mask, which would have been attached to a mummy bundle, represents the Oculate Being, which was named for its large, round eyes and may have been an early fertility-cult deity. The mask has a long, projecting nose, and four undulating serpents are painted across it, each with two heads that form projecting tabs. The three tabs below the smiling, toothy mouth may represent a tongue and possibly fangs. At the top is a human figure with the face of an Oculate Being.
MEDIUM Ceramic, resin, and pigments
  • Possible Place Collected: South Coast, Peru
  • DATES 300 B.C.E.–1
    DIMENSIONS 11 3/16 x 10 3/16 x 7 11/16 in. (28.4 x 25.9 x 19.5 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
    CREDIT LINE Frank L. Babbott Fund and Dick S. Ramsay Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Ceramic funerary mask decorated with colored resin enamels. Mask is composed of a Paracas bowl to which the details have been applied by incision or application. Eyes consist of 2 interior cones decorated with concentric circles. 11 tabs project from rim of the face, 8 of which represent serpent heads. A 12th projection at the top of the mask forms the head of a human who is impersonating the Oculate Being by wearing this deity's mask. Its body is represented two dimensionally by incisions embellished with red, yellow and green resin enamel. Its nose is a smaller version of the huge proboscis of the mask.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Paracas Cavernas. Funerary Mask, 300 B.C.E.–1. Ceramic, resin, and pigments, 11 3/16 x 10 3/16 x 7 11/16 in. (28.4 x 25.9 x 19.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund and Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 64.94. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 64.94_view2_SL2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 64.94_view2_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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