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Finial in the Form of a Bird

The delicacy and fine craftsmanship of this finial indicates that it was probably owned by a person of importance, and may even have served as an insignia of rank. The long, straight beak indicates that a hummingbird is being depicted; among the Moche, that bird is usually associated with warriors or runners, perhaps because of its quickness. The bird's rich green surface is a patina that has developed over the centuries; its original appearance would have been quite different, though the warm color of copper would have provided the same sort of contrast between metal and shell that makes the piece so appealing today.

Moche or Chimú culture, Peru
Finial in the Form of a Bird
400–1000
Copper, shell
H. 4 ½ in. (11.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 94.222