Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-17-2020

Department

Earth Sciences

Language

English

Publication Title

Heritage Science

Abstract

For millennia, qeros have been a primary component of ceremonially and politically important toasting rituals in the Andes and retain their cultural significance to this day. These wooden drinking vessels underwent a stylistic and technical revolution in the colonial period (1532–1821 AD). Among an array of features that distinguish colonial qeros from their Inka predecessors is the presence of lead white, a pigment that was introduced to the Andes by the Spanish. Here, we present lead (Pb) isotope measurements of lead white pigments from 20 colonial qeros from the collections of the National Museum of the American Indian, the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in a private collection. Although most of the vessels are not known to be associated with one another, their lead white pigments fall into three distinct and internally consistent groupings in Pb isotope space. We interpret the isotopic signatures of two of the groups to indicate that the lead white was imported from Europe. We suggest that the largest grouping (comprising pigments sampled from 12 qeros) is decorated with lead white of Andean origin. These isotopic signatures may have a chronological component, and strongly suggest some form of centralization in pigment acquisition, manufacture, and/or distribution in the colonial period.

Comments

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© The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.



DOI

10.1186/s40494-020-00408-w

COinS