A Moche Terracotta Corn Popper Vessel, Middle Horizon Period, ca. 500 - 700 CE
Popcorn (quersu) was a favorite food of the Moche people. When held over heat, the water inside the corn kernels turns to steam and busts through the outer layer. The Moche people developed a special type of vessel called a"corn popper" to hold the kernels over an open flame. The long, separately applied handle allowed them to hold the pot without getting burned, and the small round mouth was designed to keep the popped corn from spilling out. The ceramic form was derived from earlier prototypes made of gourds.
For an effigy vessel of a figure holding a corn popper, see: The Art Institute of Chicago, accession number 1957.416.
Condition: Very minor surface chips, overall intact and in very good condition.
Dimensions: Length: 9 3/4 inches (24.76 cm), Width: 6 1/4 inches (17.15 cm)
Provenance: Hoffmann collection, Germany, thereafter private NYC collection, acquired from the New York trade in 2007.
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