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Qero Cup

Arts of the Americas

Objects of Inca tradition such as plates, trays, and kero cups were treasured by the Peruvian Indian nobility. Kero cups were displayed in indigenous elite homes along with European-style objects and silver as visible reminders of their owners’ noble ancestry. This pair is decorated with an Inca male and female standing under a rainbow, a symbol that connoted Inca royal authority. Keros were made and used in pairs for the consumption of chicha, or maize beer, in ritual ceremonies (see illustration) that continued through the colonial period. The use of pairs reflected the important Andean concepts of duality and reciprocity.

Los objetos de tradición incaica como platos, bandejas y copas o vasos kero eran atesorados por la nobleza indígena peruana. Los keros se exhibían en casas indígenas de la élite junto a objetos de estilo europeo y platería como recordatorios visibles del linaje noble de sus propietarios. Este par está decorado con un hombre y mujer incas de pie bajo un arcoíris, símbolo que connotaba la autoridad real inca. Los keros eran fabricados y usados en pares para consumir chicha (cerveza de maíz) en ceremonias rituales (ver ilustración), costumbre que continuó durante el periodo colonial. El empleo de pares reflejaba el importante concepto andino de dualidad y reciprocidad.
MEDIUM Wood with pigment inlay
DATES late 16th–17th century
PERIOD Colonial Period
DIMENSIONS 7 13/16 × 6 1/2 × 6 1/2 in. (19.8 × 16.5 × 16.5 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Gift of Dr. Werner Muensterberger
PROVENANCE Prior to 1964, provenance not yet documented; by November 1964, acquired by Werner Muensterberger of New York, NY; December 19, 1964, gift of Werner Muensterberger to the Brooklyn Museum.
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MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Quechua. Qero Cup, late 16th–17th century. Wood with pigment inlay, 7 13/16 × 6 1/2 × 6 1/2 in. (19.8 × 16.5 × 16.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. Werner Muensterberger, 64.210.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1993.2_64.210.2_41.1275.5_SL3.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1993.2_64.210.2_41.1275.5_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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