National Geographic : 1915 Feb
A LADLE OR DISH WITH ONE HANDLE, USED BY THE INCAS AS A SOUP PLATE It is painted in three colors, inside the dish and on the handle, in a very attractive pattern, reminding one of the decoration used on Greek pottery. The two incised nubbins opposite the handle are evidently an echo of the time when the dishes had two handles. One handle got broken off, and it was discovered that the dish was even more convenient than when it had two handles. In hundreds of examples of this type of dish in the Machu Picchu collections and in the great museums containing collections of Peruvian pottery we have found a very few cases in which these nubbins were not incised, but cases in which the incision goes all the way through and becomes a perforation. The dish may very con veniently be held in the hand, the thumbs going through the loop of the handle. 2 natural size. and soldiers, the Incas, and their prede cessors, the "Megalithic Folk." When one considers the many attrac tive features of this ancient civilization the picturesque location of the towns, the beautiful stonework, the symmetry of the buildings, the difficult engineering feats that are frequently in evidence, the at tractive designs on pottery and textiles, the skillful metallurgy, and above all the stories of remarkable governmental or ganization made familiar by the fasci nating volumes of Prescott-our zest for exploration and discovery in this region may readily be understood. UNDESCRIBED ANIMALS There is the appeal of geology and phy siography. It is believed that southern Peru contains the key to the structural growth, erosion epochs, and stratigraphic history of the Andes, and to climatic fluctuations of great range. The re ported presence of irrigation ditches at high elevations suggests interesting stud ies relating to the shifting of population due to climatic and other changes. Furthermore, this area is so little known to geologists and paleontologists that the chance of making interesting and important discoveries is considerable. Many unexplored and even unlocated ex tinct lakes of Pliocene and Pleistocene times probably exist on this plateau, which, like the Ayusbamba, visited in 1912 (see the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, April, 1913, page 501), may be expected to yield vertebrate fossils. From the point of view of zoology, re markably little is known of the animal life of this region, considering the length of time that it has been opened. In the great museum collections there are very few specimens of the fauna of the Andes of Peru and Bolivia. It is believed that there are many new species of mammals yet to be described. The Andean bear, the so-called "spectacled" bear, which is so very shy, and of which no specimens have been brought home from southern Peru, is fairly common in this region. On the botanical side the region is par ticularly interesting as being the original home, it is believed, of some varieties of our more common articles of food, such as the potato and Indian corn. Further more, we find here several edible roots and vegetables that are unknown in the United States, and which may be worth transplanting.