Pre-Columbian Huaco Image of Crowning

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This image is part of the Larco Museum’s collection in Lima, Peru.  It occurs in references to ancient artifacts of Peru, many of which are erotic in nature.  Many of these huaco objects were used in rituals, and although the ritualistic purpose of this particular object is unclear, the context of the figure and its creation clearly pertain to the topic of birth as a rite of passage.

Focal to the piece is the image of the crowning child. The object could be useful to other pregnant as they prepare to birth their own children, reminding them that birth is a natural, physiological process of the body and that crowning is not to be feared.  Carved as a solitary female figure giving birth, the object reminds the contemporary viewer that many women across time, history, and culture have given birth.  This knowledge is calming as one approaches one’s own labor and delivery of the child.