Ear Spool

(Chimu, c. 1150-1450)


In the center of each ear spool, the artist sculpted a miniature scene of the ruler with his royal entourage. The omnipotent king is the largest of the bunch, of course, and smack dab in the middle.

The ruler and his two primary attendants distinguish themselves in crescent-shaped headdresses that you wouldn’t find at the local clothing mart. The ruler also has a ceremonial cup of chicha (corn beer) in his left hand and a fan of exotic Amazonian bird feathers in his right.

Escorting the ruler’s caravan was apparently monkey business—those attendants flanking the ruler are indeed sharply dressed simians.