Peru, Sicán/Batán Grandes Area of Lambayeque Valley Middle Chimú

Effigy Beaker (Kero)


Gold alloy

Gift of Dr. Mark Sheppard


Gold was highly prized by the Peruvians and was thought to be the congealed “tears of the gods.” Ancient metal artisans worked with gold in two manners, hammering and casting. Hammered pieces, such as those produced in Peru, are characterized by smooth, broad surfaces and detailed patterning. Great artistry was required to fashion such a large container as this effigy kero (beaker) from gold sheets and then control the embossment of the ornate relief elements. This was done by hammering the plates over a hard wooden pattern. This beaker represents the so-called Sicán Lord figure, believed to be the culture hero and founder of the dynasty which ruled in the Chimú period, Naymlap.

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