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Posted by Frank van Steenbergen
August 06, 2012

One of the most beautiful objects in the National Museum of the American Indian in New York is the Inca Terraced Vessel. It is estimated to be six hundred years old and comes from coastal Peru.  The vessel looks like a replica of an Inka temple, but on closer look it seems to represent a carefully terraced landscape.

The three lower steps of the vessel are basin catchments ready to collect and hold water – finely crafted with slightly curved walls. The front part of the vessel is decorated with small circles with a dot in the middle which are symbols of water. The lower part of the drawing on the front shows a series of terraces.

Half of the top part of the vessel is white: representing the snow on the plateau and the male colour.  The other part is dark – the female Pachamama or mother earth.

There is, indeed, a close link between sustainability and spirituality – between taking care of the environment that surrounds us and achieving self-fulfilment.

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