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William Hunter

Cuzco Moon
1987
vera wood
14 1/4 x 14 1/2 in
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Jane and Arthur K. Mason on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Renwick Gallery

William Hunter's vessel is turned from vera wood, an evergreen native to Colombia and Venezuela. The prominent blond mark in the wood inspired the title. A city in southern Peru, Cuzco was the capital of the Incan empire from the eleventh century to the Spanish conquest in the early sixteenth century. Hunter's carved linear elements follow and reinforce the pattern of the wood grain to maximum effect. Contrasting sharply with the pale moon on the side is the circular opening that appears almost black. The vase is alive with movement.