The patterns on this vessel evoke animal or snake skins. An artist used a resist method, applying resin or wax to block later applications of colors. By removing the resin, he revealed the lighter-colored patterns.
The Piartal culture flourished in the mountainous region on the Colombia-Ecuador border for 500 years. They used vessels of this type in secondary burials—the practice of reburying the bones of the dead with jewelry and other valuables.