Skip Navigation

Offering Vessel

Arts of the Americas

On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The Americas’ First Peoples, 4000 B.C.E.–1521 C.E.
The Cupisnique people produced carved stone bowls embellished with complex mythological beings. The figure on this vessel represents a spider with two human arms and legs, and eight radiating trophy heads. It holds a knife in one hand and a decapitated head in the other. A snake emerges from a Strombus shell in the genital area.

The trophy heads allude to the figure’s supernatural powers. The spider may be associated with fertility rituals and stories of human sacrifice.
CULTURE Cupisnique
MEDIUM Carved steatite, pigment
DATES 900-200 B.C.E.
DIMENSIONS 1 7/8 x 6 5/8 x 6 5/8 in. (4.8 x 16.8 x 16.8 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
EXHIBITIONS
ACCESSION NUMBER 71.23
CREDIT LINE Gift of The Roebling Society and Dick S. Ramsay Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
CAPTION Cupisnique. Offering Vessel, 900-200 B.C.E. Carved steatite, pigment, 1 7/8 x 6 5/8 x 6 5/8 in. (4.8 x 16.8 x 16.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Roebling Society and Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 71.23. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 71.23_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 71.23_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RECORD COMPLETENESS
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.
Cupisnique. <em>Offering Vessel</em>, 900-200 B.C.E. Carved steatite, pigment, 1 7/8 x 6 5/8 x 6 5/8 in. (4.8 x 16.8 x 16.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Roebling Society and Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 71.23. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 71.23_SL1.jpg)