Museums Home BMAGiC Home Search Browse BMAGiC Help About BMAGiC Contact Us

Portrait Head Jar of a Man with Hare Lip

View main imageView larger image
Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

Additional Images

Click on each image below to view at full size:
View image 2 

Basic Information

Accession Number:1982A194
Collection:Antiquities - South American
Date:200 AD - 500 AD


This vessel depicts a male head with abnormally small eyes, a broad flattened nose, chubby cheeks and a deformity to the upper lip, possibly a hare lip, which exposes a single tooth. The Moche are famous for their carefully and accurately modelled pots in the form of vegetables, animals and people. The pots depicting humans often have such a sense of realism and naturalism that they are almost like true portraits. Many pots represent people with natural deformities or physical conditions caused by disease. There is evidence that the Moche saw such people as being specially selected by the gods; as a result they were often associated with magic and treated with great respect.

Transferred by the Trustees of the Wellcome Trust in accordance with an order of Mr Justice Foster, dated 21 March 1977.

Further Information

Production Period:Moche IV
Place of Origin:Peru
Place of Excavation:North Coast, Peru


Height:172 mm
Width:110 mm
Depth:128 mm