Female Figure Carrying a Vessel for Chicha (Maize Beer) or Water Maker: Unknown


Art of the Ancient Americas

The metallurgical arts achieved a high level of sophistication under the Inca, who came to control the whole of Peru for almost a century prior to the Spanish conquest of the region. This tiny figurine of solid silver depicts a woman carrying an olla (water jar) on her back. The jar is attached to her by means of a rope, one end of which wraps around her waist; the other wraps around her neck, where she grasps it with her hands. Her lowered head and slightly forward shoulders create the impression of a weary figure carrying a heavy load. At the top and back of the woman's head are two small holes, which would have allowed the figurine to be strung as a pendant or attached as an ornament.




1 3/4 × 1/2 × 13/16 in. (4.5 × 1.3 × 2 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Thomas T. Solley, B.A. 1950

Accession Number



Late Horizon


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Thomas T. Solley (1924–2006), Bloomington, Ind., to 2002; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
  • "Acquisitions 2002," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2003), 131
  • Heidi King, Rain of the Moon: Silver in Ancient Peru, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000),
  • Colin McEwan and Penny Dansart, Precolumbian Gold: Technology, Style, and Iconography (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000), primarily about nude figurines made of hammered metal
  • Rebecca Stone-Miller, Art of the Andes: From Chavin to Inca (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995),
  • Professor George A. Kubler, The Art and Architecture of Ancient America, 3d ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 1984),
  • Heather Lechtman, Pre-Columbian Metallurgy of South America (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1979), pgs 1–40
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

human figures (visual works)


standing women

Technical metadata and APIs


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