Detail View: The AMICA Library: Snuff Tray

AMICA ID: 
MMA_.1989.389
AMICA Library Year: 
2000
Object Type: 
Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Creator Nationality: 
South American; Chilean
Creator Name-CRT: 
Chile, San Pedro de Atacama Region
Title: 
Snuff Tray
Title Type: 
Object name
View: 
Rear View
Creation Date: 
4th-10th century
Creation Start Date: 
300
Creation End Date: 
999
Materials and Techniques: 
Wood
Classification Term: 
Containers
Dimensions: 
L. 5 1/8 in. (13 cm)
AMICA Contributor: 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: 
New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 
1989.389
Credit Line: 
Gift of Carol R. Meyer, 1989
Rights: 
Context: 

Snuff inhaled through tubes from small trays or tablets such as this one was a widespread practice in Precolumbian South America. In the San Pedro de Atacama region of northern Chile a large number of snuff trays have been found in burials in association with other paraphernalia, such as inhaling tubes, spatulas, small mortars and pestles, and snuff-powder containers. The snuff was prepared from the leaves, resin, and seeds of plants, many of them hallucinogenic, which were dried and finely ground. Historic and current data suggest that snuff had many purposes in the Andes: it was used to cure various ailments, to alleviate pain and hunger, to provide alertness in war and hunting, and to induce trances during rituals and religious ceremonies. The tray is decorated at one end with three carved figures. At the opposite end are the remains of an indigenous repair, a tie preventing a split, running the length of the tray, from widening.

Related Image Identifier Link: 
MMA_.ao1989.389.AV1.tif