Category: moche

Your guess is as good as any, because we do not know! The claws, fangs, and spots are cat-like, while the hindquarters resemble two seahorse tails.

Moche, 525-550 CE.

While mostly an octopus, each of its leg ends in a catfish head, and the creature has claw-like feet. This Moche frontlet would have been worn on a headdress, to scare all who saw the wearer.

Circa 300 – 600 CE.

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While mostly an octopus, each of its legs ends in a catfish head, and it also has two claw-like feet. Meaning it has ten legs total? I think?

This Moche frontlet would have been worn on a headdress, to scare all who saw the wearer. Circa 300 – 600 CE.

Can you believe those are animals? The tunic is covered in geometric animals! From the Moche or Wari culture, 600s to 800s CE, Peru.

Fox head ornament from the Moche civilization, in Peru. Made of gilded copper, which has turned green over the centuries, and shell. Circa 390 to 450 CE.

Pañamarca has impressive ruins from the Moche culture, which flourished on the northwest coast of Peru between 200 CE and 900 CE. Amazingly, many murals in Pañamarca still retain their colors, over 1,000 years after the last painter laid down his brush.  The site was deliberately buried sometime around 750 CE. And in doing so, the Moche unintentionally preserved their art for future archaeologists to discover.

This mural is on one of the pillars of the imaginatively named “Temple of the Painted Pillars.” The figures hold typical Moche objects, including a plate with three purple goblets, a multicolored stirrup-spout bottle, and a feather fan.

We do not know what she called herself, but today she is known as the Lady of Cao. She lived and died in northern Peru 1,700 years ago. We know she was a high-status woman of the Moche culture, because she was buried in a tomb in a pyramid, with a crown and surrounded by gold and copper artifacts.

The tomb also suggests that Lady of Cao may have been a warrior: she was buried a number of weapons, including two massive war clubs, and twenty-three spear-throwers!

Modern science has revealed that the Lady of Cao was in her twenties when she died, likely of childbirth or complications following childbirth. 

Her feet, legs and face were tattooed with magic symbols of serpents and spiders. And now, science has revealed to us her face.