378 ASHMEAD—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERU. [Xov. :o,
TESTIMONY OF THE HUACOS (MUMMY-GRAVE) POT¬
TERIES OF OLD PERU.
BY ALBERT S. ASHMEAD, M.D.
(Read November 20 , 1903.)
When we search the cemeteries of old Peru, we find by the side
of every mummy a number of objects which are useful for him.
His pious hands have within ready reach whatever is needed for his
eternal voyage. Drink being indispensable in a country of so
much dryness as Peru, good care was taken to place convenient to
his hands a quantity of water or wine vessels to appease thirst.
These clay vessels have human form and give rise to our admira¬
tion, just as do the statuettes of the Egyptian tombs or the earthen
Cnites found in those of Tanagras among the Greeks.
Historians agree in recognizing in these Egyptian and Grecian
images the doable or duplicate or soul which survives the departed.
Death was definite only if these statuettes disappeared.
The belief in a soul, very widespread among every people,
existed in Peru. And to satisfy it these people found it convenient
to transform the drinking vessel into a soul, that is to say, an image
resembling the deceased. Beside?, these little potteries had reality
pleasing to the artist. The varieties of them are great, representing
the child, the woman, the old man, the fat, the lean, the noble and
the poor man, with every expression of physiognomy, as sorrow,
joy, anger, etc. Occasionally the figures have pendants on the
ears or the nasal septum perforated for the introduction of a ring.
This last character of figure is in the Museum of the Trocadero,
Some of these potteries show signs of diseases. I have seen one
representing a double hare-lip. Syphilitic and lupoid (wolf-
cancer) lesions are very frequently shown on the faces, especially
the nose and upper lip. We know that these diseases existed
in America long before the time of Columbus, and some eminent
scientists have made the mistake to believe that because the former
disease was very widespread, so common that the old Mexicans had
deified it by incarnation into a god (Nanahuatl), that it was carried
first to Europe by returning Spaniards. But this is a great mistake,
for Virchow shows that this disease had existed in Europe certainly
as early as 1472. And Raymond, of Paris, who dug up the bones of
ASH MEAD—HUAC03 POTTERIES OP OLD PERU.
the “ Madeleines of France, as the cemeteries of the old leper
asylums of the middle ages are called, found unmistakable evi¬
dences of its presence as early as the eleventh, twelfth and thir¬
teenth centuries. Evidently many persons afflicted with that
destructive disease were thought to be lepers and were locked up to
die with them. In ancient Mexico this disease was considered as
that of the nobles, the great, a sort of “ King’s evil.” The origin
of it in America has been thought by the same scientists to be by a
migration of those ancient races from Asia. This is also a great
mistake. For had that disease come from Asia, leprosy would
have come with it. Now there was no leprosy in those ancient
races until Spaniards, Portuguese and negroes had inoculated
them with the germs. Syphilis originally in America was the
disease of the ancient llama, the pack-animal of Incans and
When the ice age had retreated northward and the rivers and
valleys of South America became flooded, man emigrated in two
ways, in latitude with his beloved and necessary reindeer north¬
ward with the snow, and in altitude with his beloved and necessary
llama to escape the floods. This animal was a part of his house¬
hold—his horse by day and his blanket by night, for its alpaca
wool kept him warm on Andean heights. Thus man contracted
the disease which belonged to the llama.
As to the origin of lupus (wolf-cancer), which is also represented
frequently on the “ huacos pots” of the mummy-graves, it came
from the birds, especially parrots, of the Andes. Lupus is skin-
consumption. Its germ is the bacillus of Koch. Insects would
feed on the parrots dead of aviary tuberculosis and then inoculate
human beings. Thus there would be local contamination, skin-
tuberculosis, which quickly became systemic. As soon as the
lungs of man became affected, his sputum acted as a means of pro¬
pagating the disease in his family and village.
Amputation of the feet is also a common representation on these
potteries and it is real, with flaps covering the ends of bones. But
never is a hand shown as amputated.
Noses and upper lips are represented as clean cut off, evidently by
a surgeon of skill, to cure wolf-cancer of those parts. This surgical
procedure must have been quite commonly practiced in those pre-
In the guano beds of the Chincha Islands, as Mantegazza tells
380 ASHMEAD—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLE PERU. |Nov. 20,
us in his L'Amour dans Vhumanite , there have been found some
wooden figures bearing about the neck a serpent which was believed
to devour the body. These images were idols , and this representa¬
tion was the expression, as I defined it, of the disease, syphilis,
before those ancients of Peru had a word for it in their language.
The serpent is represented in the act of devouring a certain part of
the body in a series of the figures preserved in the Museum of the
Trocadero. There is also one of these figures in the American
Museum in New York.
Here are five of these Peruvian vessels, presented to the Museum
of Paris by Mr. Drouillon and derived from Moche. All show in
diverse degree some destructive lesions of the upper lip and of the
Figure i. Peruvian Vase from Moche Figure 2. Limited destruction of the
(Museum of the Trocadero). The upper lip.
extremity of the nose is destroyed.
In the first the extremity of the nose (septum and wings) is
destroyed. There is no other alteration. The rest of the nose
and the upper lip are intact.
The second subject has undergone a limited destruction of the
middle of the upper lip. A portion, in the form of an obtuse angle
with its summit bordering on the septum, has disappeared, throwing
into view the gums and teeth which remain intact. The borders of
the lesion are clean, and appear cicatrized ; the nose seems pointed,
and the two wings are strongly spread out.
ASHMEAD—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERU,
Figure 3. The upper lip is eaten Figure 4. Cicatrization following ne-
avvay. Crosis of the upper jaw.
The third subject expresses an alteration most grave. The upper
lip is devoured, likewise the nose, uncovering the gums, which are
red and bleeding.
The teeth are complete, but the end of the nose has disappeared ;
this is of abnormal shortness and appears too high.
The fourth pottery is even more interesting. There has been ne¬
crosis and loss of the superior maxilla, which has undergone a retrac¬
tion over the inferior. A cicatricial tissue has formed, tight and
inextensible, which leaves the teeth uncovered and obstructs the
entrance of the nostrils. The lower eyelid of the right eye, held by
the cicatricial tissue, leaves uncovered the ocular globe, while that of
the left eye is normal.
The last pottery of this series represents a mother, who holds her
infant in her arms. In her case also there exists a loss of the upper
jaw. But here the nose is destroyed at its root ; the extremity, irr-
tact, is turned up. This form of nose has been well described by
Fournier, the syphilographer of France.
Similar potteries are not rare. They exist likewise in the Mu¬
seum de la Plata, Argentina, South America. A beautiful collec¬
tion of photographs of this last Museum is on exhibition at the
ASH MEAD—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERU. [N’ov. Cu,
Trocadero. You can see there a subject who has lost his nose in
like manner ; a person whose face is covered with soft tissue, which
is drawn tight, and reminds one of sclerous tissue. The mouth is
puckered and reduced to a very small aperture, the lips have lost
Figure 5. Nose lost at the root.
their apparent elasticity, as if they could neither be opened nor
closed, and the teeth remain uncovered. Certain subjects of lupus
to-day offer this very aspect.
In America, I have for many years made a very minute examina¬
tion of all such potteries, mostly derived from Chancan or Chim-
bote, Peru. Some of them were buried with the mummies of
Ancon, the oldest cemetery of Peru, where most of the thermal
springs were located. Here surely would congregate, before death,
the diseased of those ancient races, and many must have died
there on the very spot. However, it has been impossible to locate
the exact mummy to which each piece of pottery belongs, through
the fault of the explorer.' I have also examined all the Ancon
mummies in the United States, and caused to be examined by the
eminent anthropologist, Dr. Emile Schmidt, all those of the Leip¬
zig Museum, where is to be found the finest collection of American
objects in the whole of Europe. The Leipzig authorities in col¬
lecting specimens even killed a Guayaquis Indian in South
America to obtain his skull ! Their agent recently paid in Lima
as high as one hundred dollars in gold for one of these little pot-
ASH MEAD—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERU.
teries, which I was myself trying to get possession of. There is not
a pottery with deformed face now in Peru which can be bought.
Leipzig has the market for them cornered. The finest collection
of these pots, however, can never be obtained, as it belongs to a
woman who will not sell. She has a thousand specimens, of which
she has promised me photographs.
I also had Dr. A. Bastian, Director of the Royal Museums of Ber¬
lin, go over his collection of mummies and pots in Dr. Edward Seler’s
American Department, for evidence of pre-Columbian diseases.
But in none of all the mummies I examined, or caused to be exam¬
ined, was there found even a trace of the disease which M. Virchow
claimed was represented on some of the huacos potteries. M.
Virchow argued against me for five years in the Berlin Anthropo¬
logical Society. He believed himself able to recognize on those
potteries signs of leprosy. In these discussions Dr. Leopold
Gluck, of Sarijivo, Bosnia, and Dr. Armauer Hansen, of Bergen,
Norway, stood with me in concluding that they did not represent
leprosy, for the hands and feet were never shown to be diseased, as
would have been the case with lepers. I finally proved to the sat¬
isfaction and recorded acceptance of the anthropological world that
those representations were really only what is shown still further by
the evidence of these five Trocadero potteries which I reproduce
here, and that is, that syphilis and lupus occurred together in the
same individual. This opinion has been now concurred in by the
authorities of the Smithsonian, of the Museum de la Plata of South
America and by the Spanish authorities, because on these potteries,
as on the others which have been critically examined, there is
shown the upper lip retracted or destroyed, a character which is
seldom if ever seen in leprosy; the faces, too, of these pots never
present tubercles, tubers or the appearance called leontiasis (/ion-
face), which belongs to tubercular leprosy, and which surely would
have delighted the old Peruvian artists to depict in clay ; but, most
important of all, the hands of all the pottery subjects are always
represented intact and perfect, while in lepers they are so often mu¬
tilated. Those artists of old Peru conscientiously would never have
neglected the horrible appearance of tuberculation of the face or
the clubbed and clawed hands of a leper. It would have pleased
them beyond measure to picture such deformations on the anthro¬
pomorphous image supposed to represent the soul of the individual
buried. Those little gems of human representation were true im-
384 ASHMEAI)—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERU. [Nov. 20,
ages of the departed, and they would not have made them false.
Amputation of hands was never represented on a pot, because arti¬
ficial hands were necessary to carry the drinking water to the lips.
On not one single pot anywhere in the whole Museum world^is
there represented a mutilated hand or a tuberculated face. This
in itself is conclusive evidence that leprosy was not pre-Columbian
These potteries of the Trocadero offer more perfect signs yet in
favor of syphilis and of lupus representations; those multiple
lesions of the nose are characteristic of syphilis, or of syphilis and
If there is any doubt of it, it is not in favor of leprosy but of
lupus, as is shown in the subject Fig. 4. Even this subject derived
from the Museum de la Plata, with retraction of the skin of the
face, might equally be afflicted by lupus.
A last argument is furnished us by an examination of the thou¬
sands of pre-Columbian bones of American graves. Not one offers
a leprous lesion, as we find them represented in the graves of the
cemeteries of the “Madeleines’ 7 of France, where are found the
little bones of leper hands as if melted away to a fine thread, but
never so in ancient American graves. Quite a number of the Amer¬
ican bones from ancient American graves, undoubtedly pre-Colum¬
bian, on the contrary, are syphilitic.
We all must admire the dexterity of those old,'Peruvian artists,
who have given us such good representations of the ulcerative
lesions of these diseases.
Besides the evidences of an “eating disease” on the faces of
these clay vessels of the graves of Old Peru, there are a number
which appear as if the nose and upper lip had been cleanly cut off
with a knife.
Here is a photograph of one such, which Prof. Bastian, of the
Royal Museum of Berlin, kindly sent me (Fig. 6). There are
others with this same exhibit in the Bandelier Collection of the
American Museum of Natural History, New York.
Mr. Wilhelm Von den Steinen, to whom the original of this pot
belongs, says: “ It is from Chimbote. The tip of the nose and the
upper lip are destroyed, the cheeks ‘ flown out ’ and furrowed with
wrinkles or scars.” I submitted this photograph, after Prof. Bastian
had sent it to me, to Dr. Hansen, of Bergen, Norway (the discoverer
of the leper-bacillus), and he replied that “ it did not present signs
ASHMEAD—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERU.
of leprosy.” “ There are no tubercles on it,” he said, “ and no
phenomena of anesthesia.”
This photograph has always appeared to me as if the person it
represents might have been mutilated by a surgeon’s knife for
Dr. Ugaz, the best authority in Peru to-day on this last-named
disease, concludes an interesting article, “ Etiologia topografia y
tratamiento de la Uta (lupus),” as follows: “ Uta (gallico, llaga,
Ilianya, tiacarana, Qquespo Spondyle) of Peru is bacillary tuber¬
culosis, generally localized in the uncovered parts of the skin
(tuberculo-derma), and its only treatment is endermic and surgical .”
My own conclusion is that this Uta, gallico, llaga, etc. = pre-
Columbian lupus (with or without complication with syphilis), is
the disease represented on the huacos potteries, for some of those
specimens represent the effects of the surgical treatment of that dis¬
ease, the cutting off of nose and upper lip.
It is highly probable that some of the deformations of those
ancient Peruvian figures were intended to represent lupus and
syphilis combined and not leprosy. For, as I said, Ancon, the
pre-Columbian graveyard of Old Peru, was also the place of baths
where the “ luposos and sarnosos ” congregated for curative treat¬
Had Ancon been a resort for lepers, somewhere in an European
or American Museum we should be able to discover a mummy show¬
ing loss of fingers or toes, for most lepers are thus mutilated. But,
386 ASHMEAD—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERU. [Nov. 20,
quite to the contrary, no such disfigurement of pre-Columbian
remains up to this time has been found in any Museum of the
world. I have searched all over for such and without success.
Moreover, had there been lepers in pre-Columbian Peru, they surely
would have gone to those baths along with the luposos and syphili¬
tics. Only the syphilitics could have been cured, while the luposos
and lepers, being incurable without surgery, would have died there.
Thus the absence of leper remains from the graves of Ancon is
double proof that leprosy did not exist in pre-Columbian Peru.
In determining in some of these representations of diseases on
these ancient potteries what disease each one is, it must not be over¬
looked that even in the living subject the diagnosis between
leprosy, syphilis and lupus is sometimes most confusing to a physi¬
cian and even to a trained leprologist. This is especially true
when the patients belong to degenerate or dying-out races. How
much greater then must the difficulty be to determine the identity
of one of these diseases whose representation was carved on the
face of a small clay image by an artist who was not a medical man.
We must observe, moreover, that in the representation of a disease
on the clay figure of a man, intended to record what belonged to
the corpse, and to be forever buried with it as its “double.” or
soul, the failure to show in that clay figure a mutilation of fingers or
toes or tuberculation of face, the most usual deformities of leprosy,
should indicate to us that the disease which the handicraftsman had
illustrated was not leprosy at all but some other disease.
There is a specimen of ancient Peruvian pottery in the Royal
Museums for Ethnology in Berlin which I have figured in the
American Journal of Cutaneous Diseases. These photographs orig¬
inally were given to me by Prof. Bastian, of the Berlin Museum.
It is the figure of a man, apparently a dwarf, whose skin is covered
with tuberculous lumps. The question is, What does it represent ?
And, more especially, does it afford any proof of the existence of
either syphilis or leprosy in ancient Peru? It is quite clear that
the artist has copied from seme living subject, and we have at any
rate offered for our inspection a very early delineation of the dis¬
ease. This pottery is probably a thousand years old.
Jonathan Hutchinson, F.R.S., of London, to whom I submitted
the photograph, argued with me that there is no reason to consider
the disease leprosy, for the man is scratching very vigorously and
clearly has no anesthesia of the skin, which would belong' to him
A>HMEAD—HCACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERL.
had he leprosy. His head is thrown back. Nor in the tuberose
form of leprosy are the tubercles ever so freely developed on the
trunk as is here shown. Mr. Hutchinson believed that the figure
represented Molluscum fibrosus, a disease of skin which does not
exist in Latin America to-day; and had it existed there in pre-
Columbian time, would it not be found in Peru to-day? Besides
these objections to Mr Hutchinson’s diagnosis there is the upper lip
shown to be eaten away, as is so common in the other Peruvian
potteries. Molluscum is not essentially pruriginous, but scabies or
pediculosis might have been present to account for the itching. To
my mind, it is another instance of lupus representation.
% I have also nine representations of the grave potteries of old Peru.
The first is indentical with a huacos pot in the Field Columbian
Museum, Chicago, a photograph of which was kindly sent me by
Dr. Dorsey, and which I published in my article, “ No Evidence in
America of Pre-Columbian Leprosy,” in the Canadian Medical
and Surgical Journal , March, 1899 The 4th, 7th and 9th are
identical with those of the Bandelier Collection of the American
Museum of Natural History, which I published, with permission, in
the Journal oj the American Medical Association, in an article en¬
titled “Pre-Columbian Leprosy,” April, May and June, 1895,
and in the Verhandlungen oj the Berlin Leper Conference. The 2d,
3d, 5th, 6th and 8th of these images are representants of lupus and
syphilis in their deformations. It should be noticed, as we pro¬
ceed, that in every case the fingers are represented normally.
As to the question of pre-Columbian origin of these vases, those
must be regarded as certainly pre-Columbian which have been found
with a certain gold ornamentation, the gold brow feather, the
exclusive ornament of the Inca family. I have seen these “ brow
feathers” in the collections in the Ethnological Museum known as
the Bassler, formerly belonging to Herr Kratzer, of Lima, and also in
the new collection of Mr. Kratzer. Besides some of the images
were buried with diseased bones, notably one sent up by Mr-
Bandelier, the explorer, from Lake Titicaca, of Peru, to the
American Museum of New York, which was dug up along with
a pre-Columbian Pachacamac syphilitically diseased skull. I
took a photograph of this skull to accompany my contribution to
the Berlin Leper Conference (article entitled “ The Question of
Pre-Columbian Leprosy in America, and Photographs of Three Pre-
Columbian Skulls”). Dr. Patron, of Lima, and Dr. Manuel A.
388 ASHMEAD—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERU. [Nov. 20,
Muniz, of the same city of Peru, have studied the subject of these
potteries, so far as they relate to leprosy. Dr. Patron says, “ Lep¬
rosy has remained an unknown thing to the native born of Peru, as
is evidenced by the lack of a word for leprosy in the Kechuan
and Aymaran languages.” When leprosy appeared with the invad¬
ing Spaniards and negroes, a phrase became necessary to be added
to the language. Bertolini, in his dictionary of Aymara, gives for
leprosy the word “ Caracha,” which means “ itch.” And Gonzales
Holguin, in his book on the Ketchua language, defines “ Liutlasca
Caracha ” as “ itch.”
Dr. Muniz wrote me that “ the first introduction of African
negroes into Peru was in 1536.” “The first negro was with the
thirteen of the Isle of the Cock before the conquest of Peru. There
were maroon negroes in Peru in that same year. The king granted
to Pizarro the privilege of importing negroes.” These Spaniards
and negroes introduced leprosy to Peru. Dr. Patron thinks that
the diseases which can produce mutilations like those seen on the
pottery are syphilis, boils, verruga-Peruana, or Peruvian warts, a
disease with fever and peculiar to Peru (this is described by
Odriozala, Paris, 1898, as Maladie de Carrion, for Dr. Carrion, a
pupil who died from self-inoculation of it to determine its specific
characters), and “Uta” (lupus). The word “ Uta ” means “to
eat away,” and would naturally be applied to a disease which
destroys the tissues. The disease is called variously in different
localities: Gallico (“French Disease ”=the Spanish name of
syphilis when it first appeared in Spain) ; llaga, Ilianya, Tiac—
Arana and Qquespo. All the best authorities attribute this disease
to the sting of insects, or by deposition of their eggs beneath the
skin. Insects are especially attracted to the mouths and noses of
sleeping persons, and those parts especially would be most liable to
be inoculated by such a disease as lupus, which has for its germ the
tubercle-bacillus of Koch, for aviary tuberculosis in Peru existed
long before human tuberculosis was known. The Indians
of the Peruvian Sierras are extraordinarily susceptible to lung
tuberculosis directly they are transferred to the coasts, while in
altitudinal Andes this phase of this pre-Columbian disease does not
appear. Dr. Patron’s great remedy to-day for Peruvian lupus is
cauterization with the Paquelin battery. In other words, all
authorities agree on the cure of it by no other means than the
knife or by burning it out.
1903.] ASHMEAD—HUAC03 POTTERIES OF OLD PERU. 389
Mr. Bandelier, of the American Museum, in reply to my ques¬
tion whether the Peruvian images labeled Chancan and Chimbote,
which he had sent up, were to be considered pre- or post-Columbian,
said that some of them were and some were not.
The question of the pre-Columbianism of these pots, which
arose when I brought them to the attention of the Berlin Leper
Conference, was afterwards thoroughly discussed in the Berliner
Gesellschaft fur Anthropologie, Ethnologie und Urgeschichte (see
Zeiischrifl , 1897, 1898 and 1899), by eminent Americanists , such
as Polakowsky, of Berlin ; A. Stiibel, of Dresden ; Reiss, of Ber¬
lin ; Dr. E. W. Middendorf, Dr. Edward Seler, of Berlin ; Dr.
Marcus Jiminez de la Espada, of Madrid; Dr. A. Bastian, the
Director of the Royal Museums of Berlin; Prof. Virchow, Presi¬
dent of the Society; Dr. Carrasquilla, of Bogota; Dr. Lenz and
Dr. Lehman-Nitsche, of La Plata Museum, and Von den Steinen,
etc. I brought before these eminent and learned gentlemen all the
evidence furnished me by Mr. Bandelier and the anthropologists of
America. Mr. Bandelier had written me that all his "finds ” were
pre-Columbian, and especially described a huacos pot represent¬
ing a human amputated foot, which I had described in my original
paper. The fact that it was a diseased foot would indicate that it
had not been amputated as a punishment "for crime, 1 ’ as Dr.
ASH-MEAD—HUAC03 POTTERIES OF OLD PERU. [Nov. 20,
Carrasquilla, of Colombia, South America, had thought. That it
is a disease representation is shown by the toes of the clay figure
being elevated from the ground, as if the sole of the foot was
greatly swollen. This Pachacamac foot-pot was dug up from a
grave twelve feet deep; not a bead nor a piece of glass or copper was
ever found in that pre-Columbian burial-ground. This is an indica¬
tion of pre-Columbianism. Moreover, this pot, which I reproduce
here, shows the bone protruding and the flesh cut away, just as
would appear on a foot that had been amputated, for the flesh flaps
must be thus provided to cover the stump of the leg. Mr. Bande-
lier wrote me as follows of this peculiarity of the figure : “ I think
that the figures represented without feet ought to be considered as
amputated , so that they have nothing to do with the question of
leprosy or syphilis.”
Certainly a people that could trephine a skull as admirably as
these same Incas, as is shown by one photographic specimen sent
me from Peru (which I here reproduce for purpose of illustration),
could just as well amputate with the stone knife a foot properly (see
“ Pre-Columbian Surgery/’ Ashmead, Uuiv. Med . Mag ., 1896).
Figure 8. Trepanation of the Incan Epoch (Squier’s skull).
This Fig. 8 shows a trepanation of the Incan epoch : A cranium
of Yucay. Nelaton and Broca determined that it belonged to the
1903 .] ASHMEAD—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERU. 391
indigenous race and that it was ante-mortem. Broca concluded that
such an operation was performed for extravasation of blood in the
cranium from a number of causes—wounds, punctured fracture,
violent inflammation, suppuration, delirium, coma, etc.—just as is
done by our surgeons to-day.
I have also pictures of ten huacos potteries of La Plata Museum,
Argentina, which Dr. Lehoian-Nitsche submitted to me. As will
be seen also by a reference to those of the Bandelier Collection of
the American Museum, New York, while amputation of the feet is
often represented, in not one single pot is there a hand amputated.
Dr. Polakowsky raised the point that if these amputations were due to
disease there should be representations of amputated hands as well
as feet. But he overlooked the important fact that then the soul
of the departed could not reach out his hand for the wine or water-
bottles which are necessary for his future life in the grave or for his
four days of journey to Paradise. The whole intent of putting
these little bottles in the grave with the corpse is to keep death
from becoming definite. A handless soul representation would
destroy their religious belief. Therefore, even if the hand of the
corpse was amputated, they would put on the image they buried
with that corpse, good hands to help the individual in the other
Dr. Carrasquilla was of opinion that these amputation represen¬
tations do not treat of disease at all, but of punished criminals ;
that for little faults they cut off the nose and upper lip, and when
they punished relapsers ” they amputated also the feet, for the
purpose of hindering them from committing new crimes or to keep
them from running away.
Dr. Carrasquilla promised to send documentary proofs of this
belief of his, but they were found to be totally insufficient to prove
his point. Dr. William Von den Steinen has consulted all the lit¬
erature of South America, like, for example, the works of Cieza
de Leon, of Garcilasode le Vega, and he has not been able to find
indications of mutilations that prove that the representations on the
clay figures have been produced by punishments which had been
applied to the individuals. He believes that they refer to the rep¬
resentations of a disease. Mr. Stiibel participated in the same
belief. Mr. Bastian and Mr. Middendorf thought that they treated
simply of punishments applied to criminals. Mr. Seler believed
that leprosy had existed in pre-Columbian Mexico , because of the
M2 ASHMEAD—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERU. [Nov. 20,
well-known word “ teococolitzli,” which was applied to leprosy and
to skin diseases generally / Mr. Jiminez de la Espada gave the
question a new turn, that he did not believe that leprosy nor ele¬
phantiasis (its variety) had been of pre-Spanish origin in Peru ;
there were no documentary proofs known to him which supported
such opinion, and he was not in accord with the opinion of Carras-
quilla, Bastian and Middendorf, who thought they treated of
criminals and beggars. He claimed that they did not apply muti¬
lations of the body as punishment, unless death was intended to
follow them, and that there were no beggars at all among the
Incans, due to their social order so perfect. According to his
judgment, these vessels, or better said these votive figures, repre¬
sented a disease special to Peru, an endemic variety of tuberculo¬
sis (“ llaga ” or “ hutta=uta”). Mr. Espada knew only one note
in the old literature which refers to mutilations of the lips and the
nose. “ The reyezuelos 6 Caracas of the Isle of Puna mutilated
in this way their eunuchs, for the purpose of making them unattrac¬
tive to the concubines.” Zarate relates it (Histoire de la decou-
verte et de la Conquete du Perou , translated from the Spanish of
Augustin de Zarate by S. D. C.; first Vol., Paris, by the Com-
pagnee des Libraries, M.D.CC.XLII, with the privilege of the
King, page 25) : “Le Seigneur de cette isle (de Puna) 6tait fort
crainte et fort respecte par ses sujets, et si jaloux que tous ceux qui
etoient commis a la garde de ses femmes, et meme tous les domes-
tiques de sa maison, etoient eunuques; et on coupoit non seule-
ment les parties qui servent a la generation mais pour les defigurer
on leur coupoit aussi le nez. M Oviedo says that the lips also were
sometimes amputated. Herrera mentions no mutilation. Nor do
Rivero and Tschudi (AntigtiedadesJ>eruanas, Vienna, 1851). Bas¬
tian (Pie Culturlande des A lies America , Berlin, 1878, Tom. 1,
p. 593) says the same as Oviedo, that “ they also amputated the'
nose and lips, so that they would not present a seductive appear¬
Prof. Virchow formulated his judgment, saying that he neither
believed that they treated of punished criminals, because it was not
related in the literature. Besides there exists statues of wood 1 of
prisoners, derived from the Isla Chincha (Guana isles;; two are
well preserved, one great and the other small. The great one
is on foot, the little one is represented as a truncated body. On
1 (See Virchow, Verhandlungen , 1S73.)
ASHMEAD—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERU. * 393
both figures the arms are held arranged behind, like a person who
listens tranquilly. The large idol has a cord round the neck, which
is tied in front by a coarse knot. One of the ends of the cord goes
down to the stomach. The nose in both takes the form of an
eagle’s beak. David Forbes says these wooden idols represent
prisoners holding a cord or a serpent to the neck. Forbes
and H. B. Frank suppose that they have thus symbolized syphilis,
a disease original to the mountains of Peru and characteristic of
the alpaca or llama, an animal which transmitted it to man by
unnatural vice. Neither of these idols nor those described by
Weiner represent mutilated nose and lips. Therefore all prisoners
were not punished by amputation of nose and lips. (See rich col¬
lection in La Plata Museum.)
Polakowsky divides all these vessels into groups : i. Clay figures
representing mutilation of nose, of pathologic origin; 2. Those
where it is doubtful whether they treat of disease or of surgical
Polakowsky does not think they treat of punished criminals, be¬
cause he has searched for data in the literature and failed to find
such. He lived twenty-five years in South America. Von den
Steinen found in the Royal Museum of Berlin representant vases of
heads and entire bodies, one of them stretched on his belly, the
other on the knees or with the legs crossed. All had mutilations
of the point of the nose and the greater part of the upper lip. In
four of the pieces the feet were lacking, on the others the lower
part of the body was covered with a cloth which enveloped it from
the hips, in a manner which made one think they also had lost the
Now in ceramics too: First, we have types undoubtedly of pris¬
oners, representing a person on foot with hands behind and bound
with a cord, but no other indication to show that it treats of a pris¬
oner. Secondly, a prisoner on his knees, halting, or sitting with the
feet crossed. Moreover, he has a cord tied around his neck. A
third represents the serpent eating a certain part of his body (penis),
while his hands are tied behind his back. But in none of these clay
figures which represent undoubtedly prisoners, was there mutilation
of any part of the face or of the body. The testimony of the
huacos potteries, therefore, is to the effect that the Old Incans did not
mutilate their prisoners by amputation of the feet. Moreover, in
PROC. AMER. PHILOS. SOC. XLII. 174 . AA. PRINTED JAN. 30 , 1904 .
394 ASHMEAD—HUAC03 POTTERIES OF OLD PERU. [Nov. 20,
these ceramics whenever amputation of feet is represented (for the
flaps are shown) there is evidence of disease in the face.
Does there exist such a disease of the face, which would also
affect the feet to require amputation of them and both equally?
Yes ! I believe that the amputated feet of the huacos potteries
have relation with the mutilations represented on the face.
Mr. Ambrosetti (. Nota de Arquelogia Calchaqii Instituto Geogra-
phico-Argentina, tomo xvii) thinks that the stumps are due to the
imperfect work of the artist, like in Calchaque idols, whose feet are
are not moulded in form at all. But then there are images
shown stretched on the belly, apparently intended to be shown in
a helpless condition ! I have seen one representing a person who
was dressing his stump with a cup of medicine, the stump thrown
across the opposite leg; and besides there are the flaps shown and
also that foot specimen itself, like a foot that had been cut off.
Some of these amputated figures are represented with the hand ex¬
tended for alms ; some hold a stick to creep or hobble with on their
knees, with their feet cut off.
In the images of the La Plata Museum, shown among the ten
which I print in this article, it can be seen by the originals (for
all the kneeling figures are without feet, the ends of their limbs show¬
ing flap-stumps as if amputated, which cannot be seen by a front
view) that in no case is amputation represented without the image
showing a diseased face. Now the ancient Incans cut off the hands
and ears of prisoners, but not the feet. Yet this mutilation of
hands and ears is not shown by a single specimen of pottery that
I have seen, and besides I believe that they never buried a clay soul-
figure with such a criminal. They wanted him to die. The pot
buried with him would keep him alive.
In a report of the Viceroy, Dr. Martin Henriquez, of the year
1582, which mentions the manner of government of Peru, the cus¬
toms and usages of the Incas, and where it is said in a general way
that amputation of limbs was a punishment of criminals, he goes
on to say : “ But in my opinion such amputations were no simple
bodily punishment which left the sufferer alive, but a kind of capi¬
tal execution like hanging, or other like.’' The text, which is here
translated literally, says : “ Executions were public and very crude.
Some were precipitated from rocks (of Andean precipices), others
had their limbs amputated, etc.’ 7
Von den Steinen says : “As to the mutilations of the legs, whether
ASHMEAD—HUACOS POTTERIES OF OLD PERU. 395
it be amputation or disease we have no case made out. In all
Peruvian vases where feet are represented they are easy to be recog¬
nized as such. The accuracy in the rendering goes even so far
that in some representations of persons with tucked-under legs the
form of the feet is expressed on the bottom of the vase. That
the Old Peruvians liked to find in their vessels the forms of persons
affected with remarkable manifestations of disease is shown also in
the Berlin collection, by the large number of them blind, one-
eyed, with lop-sided jaws, etc. As to the finding places of these
vases, they are unfortunately not safely established, the greatest part
has the indication of Chimbote, and besides there is Trujillo and
I point out, in conclusion, here that the influence of cold of the
Andean heights might have had to do with the necessity of ampu¬
tation of feet. There was a great deal of barefoot walking in
Incan climates, while the hands would be better clad. We must
renounce, however, the giving of a positive judgment as to the
mutilations of the feet of Old Peruvians. So far no other explana¬
tion has been found but a pathological one.
Prof. Bandelier wrote me from Lake Titicaca, where he was
engaged in explorations for the American Museum: “All the
Pachacamac remains, a few specimens perhaps excepted, which I
cannot now remember, belong to the so-called Yunca (hot country)
or coast Indian type of artifacts, and they are certainly anterior in
date to 1532. I do not wish to be understood to say that all the
Pachacamac finds to be made, or made previously, are not post-
Columbian ; but the site where I caused the excavations to be made
and the depth at which the objects were taken out, point to the
conclusion that my finds are indeed pre-Columbian, or at least with
very few exceptions only. The human foot alone and in appear¬
ance amputated is not rare among coast pottery, and the Museum
must have another one sent by me from Lambayeque, with its
sandal perfectly normal as well as handsomely ornamented. I
remember having r seen other specimens of the same description.
But none of them were deformed as the Pachacamac foot is.
“ The deformed faces on the pottery are generally regarded as
representations of syphilis, and I never heard leprosy mentioned in
connection with them.”
This is what I read of the ancient languages of Old Peruvians as
written in their graves : There was never a migration of these dis-
eases from Asia, nor did their religious beliefs about the soul emanate
from Asia. The surgery of ancient America was not of Asiatic deri¬
vation. The civilization or culture-growth of ancient Peruvians
was purely an American institution which had developed from
preexisting savages on this hemisphere.
New York, 333 W. 23d St.
Stated Meeting , December 18, 1903.
President Smith in the Chair.
The list of donations to the Library was laid on the table,
and thanks were ordered for them.
The decease of the following members was announced:
Rev. Henry Clay Trumbull, D.D., at Philadelphia, on
December 8, set. 73.
Dr. Gustave Schlegel, at Leyden.
Mr. Rosengarten presented a communication on “The
Earl of Crawford's MS. History in the Library of the Ameri¬
can Philosophical Society.' ;
Dr. Leonard Pearson was introduced by the President, and
presented a paper on “The Animal Industries of the United
States .' 9
The President delivered his “Annual Address."