Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru

Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru

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by Joanne Pillsbury
     
 

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“This volume represents a landmark in Moche studies.”—George Bankes, The Journal of The Royal Anthropological Institute

Centuries before the rise of the Inca, the Moche created impressive monumental architecture and precious metal objects (c. A.D. 100–800). New discoveries about this ancient coastal civilization have recently been

Overview

“This volume represents a landmark in Moche studies.”—George Bankes, The Journal of The Royal Anthropological Institute

Centuries before the rise of the Inca, the Moche created impressive monumental architecture and precious metal objects (c. A.D. 100–800). New discoveries about this ancient coastal civilization have recently been uncovered at several sites in Peru—including the richest unlooted tomb ever discovered in the New World. This fascinating book examines these records and analyzes connections between the visual arts and political representation in Moche culture.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The dramatic discoveries of the royal tombs at Sipan in the late 1980s and early 1990s have focused attention on the art and archaeology of the Moche culture, which flourished on the north coast of Peru from centuries before the rise of the Inca until the eighth century C.E. New data have been discovered in recent years, prompting the National Gallery of Art to host a symposium whose results are now presented in its "Studies in the History of Art" series. An important theme among the 15 scholarly papers presented and chosen for inclusion here by Pillsbury (arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, Univ. of East Anglia) is the connection between visual arts and political representation; the topics range from the nature of urbanism to Moche portraiture to the depiction of war and human sacrifice. Also discussed is a major development in Moche archaeology in the past ten years: the study of settlement patterns and monumental architectural complexes, which has proven extremely useful in showing the relationship between art and real life. Because of its unique approach this up-to-date, beautifully illustrated book will be of interest to large public libraries, academic libraries, and special libraries collecting in art, anthropology, humanities, social sciences, or Hispanic studies. Sylvia Andrews, Indiana State Lib., Indianapolis Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300114423
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
03/15/2006
Series:
Studies in the History of Art Series
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

Joanne Pillsbury is director of pre-Columbian studies at Dumbarton Oaks.

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Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joanne Pillsbury does an adequate job detailing the people known as the Moche. In her book: Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru she takes you through the beginning of these people lost. They built huge and bizarre pyramids that still dominate the surrounding countryside some well over a hundred feet tall. Many are so heavily eroded they look like natural hills only close up can you see they are made up of millions of mud bricks. Several of the pyramids, known as 'huacas', meaning sacred site in the local Indian dialect, contain rich collections of murals depicting both secular and sacred scenes from the Moche world. Others house the elaborate tombs of Moche leaders. Out in the desert, archaeologists have also found the 2,000-year-old remains of an extensive system of mud brick aqueducts which enabled the Moche to tame their desert environment. Many are still in use today. Indeed there are signs that the Moche irrigated a larger area of land than farmers in Peru do now. But who were the Moche? How did they create such an apparently successful civilization in the middle of the desert, what kind of a society was it, and why did it disappear? For decades it was one of the greatest archaeological riddles in South America. But now at last, scientists are beginning to come up with answers. As archaeologists have excavated at Moche sites they've unearthed some of the most fabulous pottery and jewelry ever to emerge from an ancient civilization. All very well illustrated in Joanne Pillsbury's Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru. The Moche were pioneers of metal working techniques like gilding and early forms of soldering. These skills enabled them to create extraordinarily intricate artifacts earrings and necklaces, nose rings and helmets, many heavily inlaid with gold and precious stones. But it was the pottery that gave the archaeologists their first real insight into Moche life. The Moche left no written record but they did leave a fabulous account of their life and times in paintings on pots and vessels. Many show everyday events and objects such as people, fish, birds and other animals. Others show scenes from what, at first sight, look like a series of battles. But as the archaeologists studied them more closely they realized they weren't ordinary battles all the soldiers were dressed alike, the same images were repeated time and again. When the battle was won, the vanquished were ritually sacrificed their throats cut, the blood drained into a cup and the cup drunk by a God-like deity. It was, the archaeologists slowly realized, a story not of war but ritual combat followed by human sacrifice.