Moche Painted Terracotta Vase


400 AD to 800 AD


11.5″ (29.2cm) high x 8″ (20.3cm) wide





Gallery Location

S Korea


The Moche civilisation once dominated the northern Peruvian coastline, rising to power after the demise of the Pan-Andean Chavin culture. The area in question is extremely hot and dry: however, the Moche (also known as the Mochica) undertook a process of canalisation, damming and flooding rivers in order to create a highly productive and localised socioeconomic entity. Elites and social structures appeared, as did a highly complex (not to mention sanguineous) religious structure, directly linked to the administration. Craft specialisation was an inevitable product of this process: pottery, metalwork and painting all thrived, supplying the elites and religious orders with works of unparalleled beauty. Indeed, it has been claimed that the quality of these works have never been surpassed in the Americas, while the quality of the ceramics is doubtless one of the finest in the whole of the ancient world. These have served as valuable social documents as well as stunning works of art, for the scenes painted upon them from the mundane to the erotic, the ritual to the domestic are the only direct evidence we have of the lifestyles of these pre-literate peoples.

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