A Picture's Worth: Interpreting Moche Culture in the 'Weaving Scene'

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A Picture's Worth: Interpreting Moche Culture in the 'Weaving Scene'
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Copyright 2006 by Ethan M. Cole


iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my committee chair, Dr. Susan Milbrath, for allowing me to join in her conversation with Professor Aven i on the “feet” of the Ma ya year in the lobby of a Merida hotel in Janu ary 2001. That was my first ta ste of professional life in academia and started me on the path I am on today. I would also like to thank the other members of my committee. Dr. Michael E. Moseley influenced my life tremendously in a short time. I thank him for introducing me to Moche art, for being so generous with hi s time and for his eagerness to introduce me to his friends and colleagues. Dr. John F. Scott gave me the foundation for graduate studies in Art History. If I didn’t enjoy his classes so much, I would not be as confident about my trip out to California. Thanks also go out to Dr. Anthony F. Aveni whose support, and enthusiasm continue to influence my life. In additi on, this study would not have been possible without Dr. Christopher B. D onnan, who graciously granted access to his Moche Archive at UCLA. Finally, I would like to express my love and gratitude to Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Ceeto and Sh she.


iv TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................viii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO MOCHE CULTURE AND CERAMICS................................1 The Spread of Moche Ceramics in Peru.......................................................................2 Moche Decorated Ceramics..........................................................................................4 Dating Moche Ceramics...............................................................................................6 The Larco Chronology..........................................................................................6 Phase I-II........................................................................................................7 Phase III..........................................................................................................7 Phase IV.........................................................................................................8 Phase V...........................................................................................................8 Problems in the Larco Chronology........................................................................9 The Northern Chronology.....................................................................................9 Early Moche...................................................................................................9 Middle Moche..............................................................................................10 Late Moche...................................................................................................10 Studies in Moche Iconography...................................................................................11 Parallels in Moche Art and Archaeology....................................................................12 2 INTERPRETING MOCHE CE RAMIC DECORATIONS........................................20 The Weaving Scene....................................................................................................20 Analyzing the Weaving Scene....................................................................................26 Textile Designs....................................................................................................26 Decorated Vessels...............................................................................................28 Decorated Ceramics in Moche Archaeology................................................29 Decorated Ceramics in Moche Iconography................................................30 What Can Be Learned From Decorated Ceramics In The Weaving Scene?.......................................................................................................31 Weaving Implements...........................................................................................33


v 3 DECORATED CERAMICS IN MO CHE ART AND ARCHAEOLOGY................45 The Exchange.............................................................................................................47 Evidence for Elite Status...........................................................................................48 Shirt Patches........................................................................................................48 A Floating Stirrup Spout Vessel..........................................................................49 Examples of Jars With Neck Ties...............................................................................50 Interpretations of the Weaving Scene.........................................................................51 Archaeological Evidence for a Weaving Workshop at Pampa Grande......................53 4 CONCLUSIONS........................................................................................................58 Identification of Moche Mamakonas in the Weaving Scene......................................59 Ceramic Vessel Use in Moche Society.......................................................................62 The Significance of Interpreting Moche Culture through Images..............................63 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................66 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................70


vi LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1.1 Reconstruction of the “Weaving Scene.” ................................................................15 1.2 Map of Moche influence on Peru’s North Coast. ....................................................16 1.3 From Left to Right: Spout and Handle Bo ttle, Flaring Bowl, Dipper, and a Jar. ...17 1.4 Diagram of a Stirrup Spout Vessel. .........................................................................17 1.5 Larco’s Sequence for Moche Ceramics. .................................................................18 1.6 Chronology of Northern Peru. .................................................................................18 1.7 Complete Depiction of the Sacrifice Ceremony. .....................................................19 1.8 Abbreviated Version of the Sacrifice Ceremony. ...................................................19 2.1 Photos of the Weaving Scene Vessel. .....................................................................35 2.2 Donna McClelland’s Reconstruction of th e Weaving Scene with Labels Added. ..36 2.3 Cristobal Campana’s Reconstruc tion of the Weaving Scene. .................................37 2.4 Anne Marie Hocquenghem’s Artistic Rec onstruction of the Weaving Scene. .......38 2.5 Warrior Regalia with Designs Similar to the Weaving Scene. ...............................39 2.6 Head Cloths on Portrait Head Vessels Similar to Designs from the Weaving Scene. ......................................................................................................................40 2.7 Arraignment of Bound Captives. ............................................................................41 2.8 Presentation of Food to a Moche Elite. ...................................................................41 2.9 Copulation Scene Including Stirrup S pout Bottle Associated with a Flaring Bowl. .......................................................................................................................42 2.10 Stirrup Spout Vessel and Flaring Bowl Decorated with the Same Design. ............42 2.11 Three Classes of Figures Interpreted as Ritual Healers. .........................................43


vii 2.12 Weaving Implements Painted on a Stirrup Spout Vessel. .......................................44 2.13 Two Female Weavers on Break. .............................................................................44 3.1 Possible Example of Exchange. ..............................................................................55 3.2 Stirrup Spout Vessel Showing a Shir t Patch on a Seated Individual. .....................55 3.3 Amputee with a Shirt Patch on Chest. .....................................................................55 3.4 Fineline Depiction of Waves. ..................................................................................56 3.5 Stepped-Grec Motif Ending in a Fish Head. ...........................................................56 3.6 Stepped Designs Substituted for Platform Mound Steps. .......................................56 3.7 Stepped Designs Representing Natural Topography. .............................................57 3.8 Jar with Vegetive and Twine Neck Ties. ................................................................57 3.9 Jars with Vegetive and Twine Neck Ties. ...............................................................57 4.1 A Copulation Scene with Associated Ceramic Vessels. .........................................65


viii Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts A PICTURE’S WORTH: INTERPRETING MOCHE CULTURE IN THE “WEAVING SCENE” By Ethan M. Cole May 2006 Chair: Susan Milbrath Major Department: Department of Anthropology T he Moche, who occupied the North Co ast of Peru from about AD 1 to 800, created a remarkable ceramic tradition manife sted by examples in private collections, and museums throughout the world. Intricately pain ted slip, sculpted relief, and modeled decorations realistically depict flora, fauna , and human activity described as a “picture book of the culture” (Bennett 1963: 102). Lacking archaeological provenience, these artifacts cannot be scientifically assigned to a specific place and time: a problem that prevents the establishment of a direct link between these representations of the past and real locations. Despite this hardship, the subjects of Moche decorated ceramics can be “read” for their content, making them valuable sources of information. My analysis of a well-known ceramic vessel from the British Museum (popularly referred to as the Weaving Scene) resulted in the following obs ervations: 1) the discovery of an artistic convention for i ndicating elite status, 2) the identification of an elite group


ix of weaving instructors related to the Mamakonas of the Inca Empire, and 3) evidence for the concurrent use of several different ceramic vessel types. Interpretation of Moche art is discussed in terms of an interdis ciplinary approach. A combination of iconographic, archaeological, and ethnohistor ic research used in my studey was extremely helpful for understandi ng the past. My study c oncludes with a look to the future of Moche studies, suggesting that Moche art may act not as a “picture book,” but as a “map,” or a visual reminder of artis tic elements that future investigations may one day allow us to understand.


1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO MOCHE CULTURE AND CERAMICS T he Moche, who occupied the North Coas t of Peru from about AD 1-800, created a remarkable ceramic tradition with examples found in private colle ctions and museums throughout the world. Intricately painted slip, sculpted reli ef and modeled decorations present realistic depictions of flora, fauna a nd human activity that have been described as a “picture book of the cultur e” (Bennett 1963: 102). Lacking archaeological provenience, these artifacts cannot be scientifically assi gned to a specific place and time; a problem that prevents the establishment of a direct link between these representations of the past and real locations. Despite this difficulty, the subjects of Moche decorated ceramics can be analyzed for their content, making them valuable sources of information on this ancient group. My analysis of Moche images results in the following observations: 1) the identification of an elite group of weaving instructors related to the Mamaconas of the Inca Empire, 2) the discovery of an artistic convention for indicating elite status, and 3) evidence for the concurrent use of seve ral different ceramic vessel types. These interpretations are th e result of a detailed ic onographic analysis of a wellknown ceramic vessel from the British Museum . Popularly referred to as the “Weaving Scene” (Figure 1.1), this piece has been recogniz ed for its unique depiction of artisans at work and provides a detailed picture of Cl assic Moche culture (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 126). Now considered a major art form, Moche ceramics depict naturalistic motifs comparable to those of Ancient Greece (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 13). Before


2 Moche decorated ceramics can be properly in terpreted, an introduction to the Moche and their cultural influence on the North Coast is necessary. The Spread of Moche Ceramics in Peru The Moche cultural traditi on, dating from about AD 1-800, is evident in large earthen structures, complex irrigational system s and seaworthy water craft that were used by the Moche to travel along th e coast and the offshore isla nds. The distinctly Moche ceramic style extends from the Huarmay Valley in the south to the Piura Valley in the north (Figure 1.2). The extent of their influe nce on Peru’s cultural landscape can be traced through the presence of their cer amic vessels across the North Coast. In the past, scholars believed that the Moche ceramic style was indicative of a centralized state based out of the Huacas del Moche near modern day Trujillo (Pillsbury 2001: 11). Nestled in the Moche Valley, the Hu acas del Moche is dominated by two large earthen structures: the Huaca del Sol and the Huaca de la Luna. The Huaca del Sol, which may have been an administrative center, is 340 meters long, 160 meters wide, and over 40 meters tall and was likely constructed w ith over 100 million adobe bricks (Moseley 2001: 178-179). Since many of the bricks cont ained pressed designs that have been referred to as “maker’s marks,” and evidence exists for construction in segmentary phases, archaeologists believe that the Huaca del Sol is the product of organized, pooled labor, related to mit’a labor of the Inca Empire (Mill aire 2002: 8; Moseley 2001: 179). The Huaca de la Luna is a smaller structure and stands 25 meters tall, 95 meters long and 85 meters wide. This building is characteri zed by numerous polychrome murals and is believed to have been a religious center. Becau se of the immense size of these structures, the Huacas del Moche site is believed to have been the epicenter or “core area” of Moche culture (Bawden 1996: 17). Support for this cla im comes from the fact that this valley


3 and the adjacent Chicama Valley to the nort h, most closely adhere to a five-phase sequence for Moche pottery proposed by Ra fael Larco Hoyle (Millaire 2002: 3). Rafael Larco Hoyle (1948), who was an hacienda owner and Moche enthusiast, created a chronology for dating Moche ceramics based on his archaeological excavations in the Chicama Valley. He proposed that a ceramic type, the stirrup spout vessel, could be organized into temporal phases according to differences in the height, width and construction of their upper spouts. Larc o Hoyle’s five-phase chronology became the benchmark for Moche studies, and was qui ckly adopted by the archaeological community. This seriation was widely accepte d, and its accuracy was confirmed by later excavations in the Moche Valle y (Donnan and Mackey 1978). The Moche and Chicama Valleys are sepa rated from the Jequetepeque and the upper valleys by the Pampa de Paijn. This stretch of barren dese rt likely stood as a cultural barrier for the southern Moche, for many ceramic traditions identified in the “core area” and valleys to the south are, for th e most part, not present north of the Pampa de Paijn (Castillo and Donnan 1994: 158). A lthough the Jequetepeque Valley was home to a number of important Moche centers at Pacatnamu, San Jos de Moro, and Dos Cabezas, their relation to the “core area” remains unclear. Luis Jaime Castillo and Christopher Donnan (1994) note that although a few examples of Moche-style stirr up spout vessels are pr esent in the archaeological record of the northern valleys, they frequently do not conform to Larco’s five-phase sequence. Deviation from southern ceramic traditions is also evident in the general absence of common Moche IV ceramic types, such as flaring bowls and dippers, as well as the exclusively northern development of Moche V ceramics. These observations led Castillo


4 and Donnan (1994: 159) to conclu de that the Moche to the south were organized in a wholly different manner than those of the northern valleys. Whereas the people of lower valleys of the North Coast were likely loyal to a Moche state based in the Moche Valley, those of the upper valleys were free from centralized rule (Castillo and Donnan 1994: 161). Although there is unmistakable Moche in fluence in the north, the argument for a centralized Moche state has become a topic of debate. Moche Decorated Ceramics Moche-style ceramics are easily recognized as they tend to conform to a standard repertoire of forms and decorations. Alt hough variations exist am ong individual vessels, Moche ceramics are decorated by one of only a few techniques. These include fineline painting, bas-relief sculpture, modeling or any combination of the three. Fineline painted decorations were created by applying a red sl ip to a cream base on what would otherwise be a red clay vessel. In the early stages of Moche culture, the fineline decorations were thick and blocky, but in time Moche artists perfec ted their craft, and were able to create thinner brushstrokes that allowe d for greater levels of deta il. The fineline technique was most frequently applied to stirrup spout bot tles, although it also adorned the other Moche decorated ceramic types: spout and handle bottle s, flaring bowls, dippe rs, and jars (Figure 1.3) .1 Stirrup spout bottles consist of four majo r parts; the base, chamber, arch and upper spout (Figure 1.4). The chambers of stirrup spout bottles can take one of many forms. They can either be globular, or modeled. Mode led vessels take the shape of their subject, 1 One form of decorated ceramic not described here is the double-spout and bridge bottle. These curious vessels appear only in the upper valleys of the North Coast and are likely examples of influence from Huari culture (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 150). Due their general aberration from the standardized, bichrome style present in the other vessel types discussed in this study, and their absence in the Weaving Scene, double-spout and bridge bottles have been omitted from this investigation.


5 with examples ranging from realistic portra it heads to effigies of anthropomorphized figures and natural depictions of many species of flora and fauna native to the North Coast as well as neighboring eco logical zones. The chambers of stirrup spout vessels in the later phases of Moche cultu re were produced in molds; a clear sign of the importance of standardization of vessel forms (Donnan and McClelland 1999). Spout and handle bottles appear to be clos ely related to stirru p spout bottles. The chambers of these vessels take the same sh ape of globular stirrup spout bottles, and in some cases the two ceramic were found to ha ve been produced in similar molds (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 82). The distinguishing fe ature of the spout and handle bottle is its cylindrical shaft, which generally provides a larger opening than the upper spouts of a stirrup spouted vessel. Although, they are found to be similar to sti rrup spout vessels, the spout and handle bottle came late on the Mo che scene and was not introduced until the Classic period, known as Phase IV in the Larco sequence (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 80). Flaring bowls, or floreros , constitute another popular form of Moche decorated ceramic. These vessels have narrow bases with walls that flare out concavely and appear to have been introduced during Phase III (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 42). They are most commonly decorated with fineline pain tings on either their inner rim or around the outer circumference midway between the base and the flaring wall. Flaring bowls can be viewed as prestigious goods si nce their presence has been id entified as a marker for elite areas, while the absence of this and other deco rated ceramics has been used to recognize locations associated with low-status indivi duals and activities (S himada 1994: 96, 171).


6 Dippers are another class of Moche decorated ceramic. Re ferred to in the past as “corn poppers,” this appears to be a misnomer as they were not constructed to be used as a cooking implement (Donnan 1976:44). Dippers consist of a central bowl-like portion connect to a hollow neck. Fineline decorations can adorn either face of the dipper, while its neck usually ends in a modeled human or animal face. Although dippers were introduced in the earliest phases of Moche ceramics, and were popular during Classical times, they are absent in the Terminal, Moche V ceramic phase of production (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 150). Jars are the most broadly defined type of Moche decorated ceramic. Jars can take one of any number of forms with their most diagnostic trait being an open container. Jars can be decorated with fineline painting; adde d modeled elements that can take the form of limbs, or can even have portrai t heads depicted on their necks. It is noteworthy that despite the range of decorative forms and ceramic vessel types, Moche ceramic art appears to belong to the same stylistic cannon. That is to say, recognized characters and repeated images can appear just as frequently in fineline paintings on a flaring bowl or spout and handle bottle as th ey would on a modeled stirrup spout vessel. Dating Moche Ceramics The Larco Chronology The chronology of Moche ceramics serves as a baseline for all discussion of changes in Moche art and cultu re. As noted above, Larco H oyle (1948) determined that Moche vessels represented five temporal phases designated IV (Figure 1.5). He developed a method of analysis for assigning each vessel to a specific phase according to the characteristics of the shape of the upper spout. Half a century later, Christopher


7 Donnan and Donna McClelland (1999) of the University of California, Los Angeles, investigated the evolution of fi neline decorations and added several more diagnostic traits to aid chronological identificatio n of Moche ceramics. Phase I-II Moche Phase I vessels are characterized by a short, thick spout with thick lips at the rims. Larco (1948: 29) suggested that thes e differed from Phase II vessels due to less pronounced lips in the latter peri od and the fact that, unlike examples from Phase I, those of Phase II do not have spherical chambers. In their study of Moche fineline decorations, Donnan and McClelland (1999) found no compelling evidence to substantiate a division between Phase I and II. Instead, they combined these phases into one they termed Moche I-II. The ceramics from this period were characterized by fineline decorations that generally either contain geometric designs or rudimentary depictions of animals and supernaturals (although one vessel is noted for depicting human subjects; Donnan and McClelland 1999: 33). Phase III Larco (1948: 31) proposed that the upper spouts of Phase III stirrup spout vessels were taller, thinner and took on a c oncave hourglass-like contour. Donnan and McClelland (1999: 68-69) observed that fi neline decorations from this phase demonstrated an increase in human subject s, with warfare motifs being the most frequently depicted activities. The figures th emselves are painted in silhouette, and new techniques were created to show depth by means of overlaying one subject over another (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 56).


8 Phase IV By Larco’s Phase IV, the upper spouts ha d reached their maximum height. These spouts had parallel sides (with little or no curvature), no distinguishable lips, and the interior of the rims flared out. Phase IV marks the florescen ce of Moche ceramics. Artists began work in thinner lines, which in turn allowed them to fit more decorations on the vessels’ chambers. Phase IV fineline decorations exhibit a shift from figures depicted in silhouette to those in out line (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 82). Artists were able to create depictions of animals and humans in a much more realistic form than earlier phases. In addition, new techniques introduced during this period in clude the use of a third, light orange pigment, and the contrasti ng of larger and smaller figures to indicate depth. Depictions of human activities reach thei r apogee in Phase IV, ranging from musical processions to deer hunting scenes . Phase IV also marks the appearance of females and erotic scenes in Moche fineli ne decorations (Donna n and McClelland 1999: 124). Finally, complex scenes depicting various related actions first became common in this period. Later, we will see that these scenes can be organized into themes, a method that has proved useful for interp reting Moche artistic decorations. Phase V The spouts of Phase V are similar to those of IV in that their interior rims were beveled, but are shorter and had their si des tapered towards the rim (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 20-21). The fineline of Phas e V is characterized by even thinner lines and more complex compositions than those of the past. Another diagnostic feature of Phase V ceramics is the decoration of upper spouts. While in the previous phases the upper spouts had been painted with either re d or white designs, those of Phase V are always decorated with a red slip on a white background (Donnan and McClelland 1999:


9 168). The realism seen in Phase IV seems to have declined in Phase V as there is a greater focus on supernatural subjects and na tural subjects in abstract forms (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 171). Problems in the Larco Chronology Problems in the Larco chronology have come on two fronts. As noted above, Donnan and McClelland (1999: 21) found that th e defining stylistic elements and subject matter, of Phase I and II vesse ls tend to overlap which is why they combined the two as Phase I-II. In addition, the Larco sequence has not prove d useful in the in the upper valleys of the North Coast. Also noted above, the valley s north of the Pampa de Paijn have failed to produce ceramics consistent with the fi ve phases proposed by Larco. This led Luis Jaime Castillo and Christopher Donnan (1994) to propose a new serriat ion that could also incorporate aberrant ceramics from th e northern valleys. The new chronology is organized into Early, Middle a nd Late periods (Figure 1.6). The Northern Chronology Early Moche Ceramics from the Early phase generally conform to Larco Phase I and II-shaped upper spouts, although these vessels also demons trate certain distinct ive characteristics. Excavations from Dos Cabezas and La Mina provide evidence for this phase, which is characterized by high quality modeled stirrup sp out vessels fired with reduced levels of oxygen to create a red hue. They are often decorated with red a nd white slip in addition to shell and precious stone inlay (C astillo and Donnan 1994: 162-164).


10 Middle Moche Ceramics of the Middle Moche period ha ve been seriated based on burials from Pacatnamu and San Jose de Moro. Castillo and Donnan (1994: 169) divided the ceramics from this phase into three sub-categories: high quality vessels, me dium quality vessels and domestic ware. The high quality vessels are characterized by s pouts that correspond to Larco Phases III and IV. In general, ex amples from the Northern regions can be distinguished from their sout hern counterparts by their di stinctive purple slip, and a pronounced lenticular shape. Middle Moche ve ssels of medium quality tend to be simple and modeled jars. They have globular or ova l shaped bodies and can depict animals or humans in profile, an artistic convention that is not present in southern fi neline tradition (Castillo and Donnan 1994: 170). The domestic wa re category is comprised of pots with short pronounced necks and cruc ibles that tend to be found ar chaeologically in pairs of three. Late Moche In the Northern valleys, the Late Phase marked the fluorescence of ceramic arts. It generally corresponds to Mo che V in the Larco sequence. A great number of technological and artistic advan ces are visible in the vessels from this period. Of note is the introduction of polychrome painted decora tions and the appear ances of double-spout and bridge vessels. The iconographic content of this period ranges from depictions of animals, humans and supernaturals. The sti rrup spout vessels of Late Moche tend to conform to standardized shapes and decora tion consistently have conical upper spouts (Castillo and Donnan 1994: 171-176).


11 Studies in Moche Iconography Although Moche art has been a topic of acad emic inquiry for over a century, it was not until the 1970s that a consistent met hodology for iconographic analysis was adopted. This came with the introduction of a thematic approach to interpreting Moche iconography. The thematic approach. In the early 1970s Donnan created a photogr aphic archive of Moche artifacts from museums and private collections throughout th e world. His analysis of thousands of decorative motifs revealed that a large numbe r of images were re peated. Donnan also observed that the same meaning appeared to be conveyed in a variety of ways, which led to the suggestion that Moche art depicts on ly a limited number of different subjects (Donnan 1977: 407). He proposed that the recu rring images belonged to larger themes, and noted that in some cases Moche artists we re able to convey the message using only a few of its essential elements. This was compar ed to a convention common to in Christian art where the sanctity of the Nativity Scene can be invoked w ith an image of the Christ child (Donnan 1977: 407-408). The first recognized and most frequently published theme in Moche art is the Presentation Theme, which was later rename d the Sacrifice Ceremony (Alva and Donnan 1993; Donnan 1976, 1977, 1978; Donnan and McCl elland 1999). This scene in its complete form (Figure 1.7) shows a c ongregation of figures surrounding a central character, Figure “A,” who receives a goblet from another, Figure “B.” Figure A, dubbed the Warrior Priest, consistently wears a warri or’s backflap, a conical headdress decorated with a crescent-shaped ornament, and a si milarly shaped nose ornament (Alva and Donnan 1993: 132). Figure B, the Bird Priest, is always depicted with both bird and


12 human attributes. He normally wears either a conical headdress similar to that of the Warrior Priest or one decorated with an owl motif. A number of other characters, Figures “S,” “D,” “U,” and “C,” flank the central pa ir in this example. Beneath a double-headed feline, attendants collect the blood of bound cap tives. Due to the presence these bleeding captives, it has been suggested that the goblet presented to the Warrior Priest contained human blood (Donnan 1976: 117). Donnan noted seve ral examples in which the Sacrifice Ceremony was depicted by only a few of the ma in elements. One such example decorates a ceramic dipper (Figure 1.8). Since the arti st had a limited amount of space to work with, he restricted this rendering of the Ceremony to Figures “A,” “B,” and a bound prisoner being drawn for his blood. Here we find that the meani ng of the Sacrifice Ceremony was effectively conveyed usi ng only its most diagnostic elements. Following the 1975 study by Donnan (repeated in 1977), several other studies of Moche themes have been published. These include descriptions of the Burial Theme (Donnan and McClelland 1979), the Boat Theme (Cordy-Collins 1977, McClelland 1990), and one called the Revolt of the Objects in which roles are reversed and inanimate objects spring to life and attack their owners (Quilter 1990). Parallels in Moche Art and Archaeology In 1987, the study of Moche iconography ch anged dramatically when looters revealed the existence of an elite tomb in a platform next to the Huaca Rajada at Sipan in the Lambayeque Valley. On February 16, loot ers unearthed a mass of gold, silver, copper and other valuable items from the ancient platform. Based on an informant’s tip, the Sipan police captured the perpetrators but were only able to recover a small number of the stolen artifacts. Walter Alva (Alva and Donnan 1993: 30) immediately initiated rescue excavations in order to preserve any remaining data available from the looted


13 tomb. Although Alva was able to archaeologi cally excavate a few artifacts that were overlooked by the looters, it was the discovery of adjacent tombs containing individuals associated with the Sacrifice Ceremony that forever changed the study of Moche art and culture. Tomb 1 at Sipan proved to be the riches t tomb ever excavated in the New World (Alva and Donnan 1993: 57). This burial pr oduced Moche masterpieces in gold, silver and shell on a level that was only matched by th ose of the looted tomb of the same site. Analysis of the artifacts le d Alva and Donnan (1993: 141) to suggest that this burial belonged to an individual who played the role of the Warrior Prie st in the Sacrifice Ceremony. This interpretation was made po ssible by the presence of a number of accoutrements directly associated with iconograp hic depictions of this figure, such as a crescent-shaped headdress ornament and warri or backflaps. Also, the Warrior Priest’s characteristic nose ornament was recove red from Tomb 1. The immense wealth demonstrated by the abundance of gold artifact s also helped the researchers recognize that this man was a person of high status. In addition to the identifica tion of the Warrior Priest, Al va’s excavations of Tomb 2 at the same site produced evidence that the Bird Priest from the Sacrifice Ceremony was not merely a mythological figure. This buria l, which supplied object s of similar quality but on a lesser scale than Tomb 1, contained artifacts linked it directly to the Sacrifice Ceremony. These included a warrior backflap and an owl headdre ss that are commonly associated with fineline portrayals of the Owl Priest. Furthermore, a copper cup shaped like those in iconographic depic tions of the Sacrifice Cere mony was found resting near the right hand of the buried indi vidual (Alva and Donnan 1993: 163).


14 While excavations at Sipan provided evid ence of Figures “A” and “B,” a third figure in the Sacrifice Ceremony was found at San Jose de Moro in the Jequetepeque Valley. This tomb produced evidence of Figure “C,” also referred to as the Priestess. Most depictions of the Sacrifice Cerem ony show a female figure wearing a tasseled headdress standing next to the Bird Prie st. Donnan and Castillo (1994) discovered a female buried with a headdress remarkably si milar to those of the artistic depictions. Further evidence for her identification came in a set of ceramic ve ssels deposited in her tomb. These ceramics, which included a large dish and a smaller goblet decorated with a fineline depiction of animated warrior bundles, were found to be nearly identical to those painted on a polychrome mural of the Sacrifice Ceremony at the site of Paamarca in the Nepea Valley (Donnan and Castillo 1994: 42). Another example of real arti facts that are similar to images from Moche art comes from the excavations of a mass sacrifice at the Huacas de Moche site. Steven Bourget (2001) discovered the remains of over sevent y disarticulated bodies in Platform II and Plaza 3A of the Huaca de la Luna. Analyses of the bones revealed that the bodies belonged to males of particularly good health between the ages of fifteen and thirty-nine (Bourget 2001: 92). Scattered among the bones were fragments of unfired clay effigies of bound, seated captives, most probabl y representing the men just pr ior to sacrifice. Stones found strewn throughout the bones and broken vessels provide evidence of how the vessels were destroyed. Bourget observes th at several examples from Moche fineline decorations depict stoning as a form of ritual killing. This le d him to conclude that the massacre at the Huaca de la Luna was relate d to sacrifices repr esented in Moche art (Bourget 2001: 99).


15 Figure 1.1 Reconstruction of the “Weavi ng Scene.” (Shimada 1994: 210, 2001: 178)


16 Figure 1.2 Map of Moche influence on Peru’s North Coast. (Castillo and Donnan 1994: 156)


17 Figure 1.3. From Left to Right: Spout and Handl e Bottle, Flaring Bowl, Dipper, and a Jar. (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 80, 77, 79) Figure 1.4 Diagram of a Stirrup Spout Vessel. (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 20)


18 Figure 1.5 Larco’s Sequence for Moch e Ceramics. (Millaire 2002: 5) Figure 1.6 Chronology of Northern Peru (Millaire 2002: 6)


19 Figure 1.7 Complete Depiction of th e Sacrifice Ceremony. (Donnan 1977: 409) Figure 1.8 Abbreviated Version of the Sacr ifice Ceremony. (Alva and Donnan 1993: 134)


20 CHAPTER 2 INTERPRETING MOCHE CE RAMIC DECORATIONS The preceding chapter provides an over view of Moche ceramics and their distribution in time and space. This introduc tion also provides examples of published analyses of the representational images and identifies several instances in which Moche art is found to have real life correlates. The remainder of this study w ill be devoted to the analysis and interpretation of a specific arti fact that seems to reveal key information about Moche art and society. The Weaving Scene Following the tenets of Donnan’s thematic approach, my study deconstructs the Weaving Scene (Figure 2.1) to establish relevant pattern s. Repeating images are compared and contrasted to identify trends. These trends are then tested against other examples of Moche iconography in an atte mpt to provide a greater understanding behind the similarities and differences between the two. The Weaving scene appears to have two different types of repeating scenes: individual weavers at work, and non-weaver s interacting with each other. Figure 2.2 shows a rollout drawing of th e scene created by Donna McCle lland with added labels to help identify the characters. Although the original vessel is damaged and is difficult to read, McClelland’s reco nstruction is the most clear and varies only slightly from other published versions. Due to the poor preservati on of the Weaving Scene, a number of different artistic reconstructions have been publishe d (Figure 2.3 Campana 1983; Figure 2.4


21 Hocquenghem 1987; Figure 1.1 Shimada 1994, 2001). This vessel, which belongs to the British Museum, has four areas of significan t damage. These include the area between Figure J6 and stirrup spout vessel J4, the roof in sub-scenes H and I, the area between Figure F1 and F2, and a significant portion of sub-scenes C and D. Despite missing the fineline decoration from these areas, the ar tistic reconstructions of this scene are remarkably similar. With the exception of s ub-scenes C and D, the main elements of these versions are generally in agreement and the overall nature of the scene can be identified. A problem is faced when the individual elements are analyzed. For instance, Izumi Shimada’s (Figure 1.1) version shows more confusion in the textile designs than McClelland’s (Figure 2.2). In the case of textile swatch E 3, Shimada’s version barely presents a distinguishable pattern, whereas th at of McClelland closely resembles the one published by Hocquenghem. Furthermore the indi vidual in sub-scene E (E4) is noticeably different in this rendering because her hair is less messy and her face shows fewer signs of advanced age. Since McClelland’s version presents the Weaving Scene with the most clarity and it generally correlates to the ot her artistic reconstructions, this version serves as the primary source of analysis in this investig ation. To aid iconographic analysis, I assigned a letter for each sub-scene and numbered each of its individual elements. For the sake of objectivity, the element in the highest position of each scene (closest to the vessels edge) was designated ,” with each element below assigned a subsequent number. As will be noted, the photo shows that sub-scenes C and D are largely reconstr ucted in McClelland’s drawing; caution must be used in interpreting these scenes.


22 Weavers at work. The Weaving Scene is composed of what appear to be ten sub-scenes. Those designated in sequence A, B, C, D, E, G, H, and I, depict figures weaving. F, and J, portray a different activity taking place and s eem to be key scenes because they occupy more space than the weaving scenes. In order to facilitate a compara tive analysis of the weavers, each scene will be described i ndividually before comparisons are made. Sub-scene A. A seated weaver, facing right or clockwise, working on a backstrap loom, linked with sub-scene B by a straw roof and a shared support post to which their looms are attached. 1. A spout and handle bottle with the top half of the chamber painted and a single line below creating a stripe around the center. 2. A swatch from the textile being creat ed on the backstrap loom. The swatch is decorated with what appears to be a bird above a stepped design rendered in a dark pattern. This textile also ha s the outline of another stepped design with a pair of dots both above and below. The loom fabric shows only the stepped design of a dark pattern. 3. A backstrap loom. One end is tied to a support post of the structure. 4. Six spindles, possibly of different colors. 5. A seated figure at a backstrap loom, holding a spindle in the right hand, and the textile in the left. This figure (and the other weavers) can be identified as female due to her haircut that is si milar to those of clear depictions of females found in Moche erotic art (Hocquenghem and Lyon 1980: 27). Two short lines below her eye likely repres ent wrinkles indicative of advanced age. 6. A flaring bowl vessel with the exterior decorated with cross-hash mark below the flaring lip and base. A narrow line above the cross-hatched motif creates a stripe. Sub-scene B . A seated weaver, facing left or counterclockwise, working on a backstrap loom linked to sub-scene A by a st raw roof overhead and a shared support post to which their looms are attached.


23 1. A backstrap loom. One end is tied to a support post of the structure. 2. A flaring bowl vessel similar to A6 with the exterior decorated with crosshatch marks below the flaring lip and base. A narrow line above the crosshatched motif creates a stripe. 3. A seated woman at a backstrap loom, holding a spindle in her left hand, and the textile in the right. She wears a striped mantle on her back. Two curved lines below her eye represent wrinkl es indicative of advanced age. 4. A swatch from the textile identical to the one being woven on the backstrap loom. The design of the textiles is co mposed of a geometric S-curve and triangle fringes on one end. This desi gn appears similar to those found on headdresses in other examples of Mo che art, especially those on portrait head vessels, and will be discussed below in greater detail. 5. Eight spindles, possibly of different colors. Sub-scene C . A seated weaver, facing left or counterclockwise, working on a backstrap loom linked to sub-scene B by a support post and to sub-scenes D and E by a straw roof overhead. She appears to be seated between two structures, with her loom tied to one, and her body sheltered by another. 1. A backstrap loom tied to the post of th e preceding structure. No swatch is present in this scene but the design of the woven textile is visible. The decoration of the textile has two dots below a diagonal connected triangle motif. Two more dots are located in between the sides of the adjacent triangles. 2. A spout and handle vessel. This vessel is decorated with dots that appear to span the circumference of the upper chamber, though only one half is visible. A band is formed by two narrow lines that decorate the equator of the chamber. 3. A seated woman at a backstrap loom , holding a spindle in her right hand, and the textile in the left. Her hair ap pears longer than the weavers A5 and B3. Two curved lines below her eye like ly represent wrinkles indicative of advanced age. 4. Seven spindles, possibly of different colors.


24 Sub-scene D. A seated weaver, facing right or clockwise, working on a backstrap loom linked to sub-scene C by a straw roof a nd sub-scene E by a straw roof and a shared Y-shaped support post to whic h their looms are attached. 1. A flaring bowl vessel with the exterior decorated with cross-hatch marks below the flaring lip and base. A narrow line above the cross-hatched motif creates a decorative stripe. 2. A seated woman at a backstrap loom , holding a spindle in her right hand, and the textile in the left. Two curved lines below her eye likely represent wrinkles indicative of advanced age. 3. A backstrap loom tied to a Y-shaped support post shared with sub-scene E. No swatch is present in this scene bu t the design of the forming textile is visible. The decoration of the textile has an inverted diagonal connectedtriangle motif. Above this element are three small isolated triangles. The edge of the textile is decorated with triangle fringes. 4. Four spindles, possibly of different colors. Sub-scene E . A seated weaver, facing left or counterclockwise, working on a backstrap loom, linked to sub-scene D by a straw roof and a shared Y-shaped support post to which their looms are attached. 1. A spout and handle bottle decorated with an outlined stripe around the circumference of the upper chamber. Outlined isosceles triangles protrude from this stripe. 2. A backstrap loom. One end is tied to a Y-shaped support post of the structure which she shares with the figure in sub-scene D. 3. A swatch of the textile produced on th e loom. The design is not entirely clear, but from the work in progress on the loom it is possible to suggest that this design is composed of an indiscernible shape below a diagonal connected-triangle motif. Above the triangles are two outlined dots. A vertical line of connected-triangles acts as a border. 4. A seated woman at a backstrap loom , holding a spindle in her right hand, and the textile in the left. Unlike the other weavers of this scene this woman’s hair is disheveled. She has wrinkles below her eyes, on her chin and on her upper lip indicating extreme old age. 5. Five spindles, possibly of different colors.


25 Sub-scene G . A seated weaver, facing right or clockwise, working on a backstrap loom, linked to sub-scene H by a straw roof and a shared Y-shaped support post to which their looms are attached. 1. A spout and handle bottle. An outlined stripe decorates the upper chamber. Below, outlined dots appear to surrou nd the circumference of the chamber. 2. A backstrap loom. One end is tied to a support post of th e structure. Here, the post has a Y-shape like the posts in sub-scenes C, D and E. 3. A seated woman at a backstrap loom , holding a spindle in her right hand, and the textile in the left. This wo man has wrinkles below her eye and on her upper and lower lips. Like Figure E4 she is of an extremely old age. 4. A swatch from the textile produ ced on the loom. The design, though particularly difficult to interpret, app ears to be composed of a pair of dots above an inverted diagonal connected -triangle design. A vertical connectedtriangle column acts as a border. An outlined triangle protruding from the column points towards the diagona l connected-triangle design. 5. Five spindles, possibly of different colors. Sub-scene H . A seated weaver, facing left or counterclockwise, working on a backstrap loom, linked to sub-scene G by a straw roof and a shared Y-shaped support post. 1. A backstrap loom. One end appears to be tied to the rafters of the structure, in contrast to the supporting posts in all other sub-scenes on this bowl. No swatch is present in this scene but the design of the forming textile is discernable. The decoration of the tex tile contains a pair of outlined dots below a diagonal connected-triangle motif . A colored triangle floats above the diagonal connected-triangles. 2. A stirrup spout bottle modeled in the shape of a feline head. 3. A flaring bowl. This vessel may be deco rated differently from the others in the Weaving Scene. It has a colored base, with an indiscernible design on the center and an outlined stripe just above it. 4. A seated woman at a backstrap loom , holding a spindle in her right hand, and the textile in the left. Two curved lines below her eye likely represent wrinkles indicative of advanced age. 5. Six spindles, possibly of different colors.


26 Sub-scene I . A seated weaver, facing left or counterclockwise, working on a backstrap loom and has no links to the other weavers. 1. A stirrup spout bottle decorated w ith an outlined stripe around the circumference of the upper chamber. Outlined isosceles triangles protrude from the stripe. 2. A swatch from the textile created on the loom. The design of which is composed of a small outlined rectangl e protruding from the corner of the swatch, emanating towards a pair of outlined dots. These elements are above an inverted diagonal connected -triangle design. Below the triangles are a dot paired with an indiscernible element. An extension to the swatch block contains inverted opposing st epped design, of which the upper example is outlined and the bottom is colored. 3. A backstrap loom. One end is tied to a Y-shaped supporting post of the structure. 4. A seated woman at a backstrap loom , holding a spindle in her right hand, and the textile in the left. Unlike the other weavers in this fineline decoration, the woman has no signs of advanced age. She has no wrinkles on her face and has a well-kept hairdo. 5. Six spindles, possibly of different colors. Analyzing the Weaving Scene These eight sub-scenes appear to port ray activities surround ing Moche textile production. A detailed analysis may help better understand the role of weavers, weaving activities and the tec hniques Moche artists used to convey information about these subjects. Textile Designs It is noteworthy that the artist of this fineline decoration took pains to provide an example of the textile designs produced by each of the weavers. In most cases, the weaver’s work on the loom is visible, but wh en the artist could not provide an accurate representation within the limited space, they pr ovided a detailed example in the form of a swatch that floats either above or below the loom. The fact th at the artist made an effort


27 to allow viewers to see the designs indicat es the patterns of th e textiles had great significance. Since each of the designs is diffe rent, it becomes possible to conjecture the significance behind them. In Inca times, one’s dress was used as an indication of identity. Fray Bernabe Cobo (2005 [1653]: 196) observed that each member of the Inca Empire was forced to wear the insignia of his or her commun ity on their person. The insignias, which could not be traded or worn by members of another group, consisted of a specific geometric design that decorated their clothes. Cobo notes that men wore thei r most distinguishing insignia on their headdress and that ethnicities could be identified based on h eaddress designs. In addition to ethnicity, Inca textiles indicated status as certain geometric designs, known as tocapus , were restricted to the elites (Stone -Miller 2002: 212). Gart h Bawden (1996: 95) suggests that the same was true for the Moch e. He believes that one’s clothing was a marker of Moche social status. This is supporte d by further analysis of the textiles being produced in the weaving scene The designs created by the weavers appear similar to several examples on warrior regalia in various fineline decorations. Fi gure 2.5 shows two examples in which a warrior’s tunic and headdress re semble the textiles prepared in the Weaving Scene. In another example, a shield that is also found to have a step ped design like those produced on the weavers’ backstrap looms. Further correlations between the textiles created on the weavers’ looms and those worn by figures in Moche art come from evidence of similar designs found on portrait head vessels (Figure 2.6). Th ese true to life depictions of Moche leaders often wear headdresses decorated with fineline geomet ric shapes that probably represent cloth


28 headbands. Several of these de signs closely match those prod uced in the Weaving Scene. Figure 2.6 provides an array of portrait heads and designs from the Weaving Scene. Here, we find that the design represented in the B4 swatch is identical to the headdress of one of the portrait vessels. It is of interest that co rrelations for patterns on th e Weaving Scene come from warrior regalia and portrait he ad vessels, both representati ons are believed to belong to the Moche elite. The notion that warriors were elites is supported by evidence from sacrificial victims at Plaza 3A from the Huaca de la Luna in which the victims, presumably captured warriors, were of noticeably good health (Bourget 2001: 94). In fact, Donnan (2004: 113) suggests that individuals depicted in portrait head vessels were both members of the elite and warriors themse lves. He identifies several vessels that appear to depict the same i ndividual at different ages. Sin ce the individual is traced from childhood through middle age, Donnan (2004: 156) proposes he belonged to a hereditary elite group. Portraits of another individual clearly depict him fi rst as a dignitary, but later as a bound nude captive. Donnan (2004: 120) be lieves the latter indicates that this individual participated in ritu al warfare, but met his death as a victim of the Sacrifice Ceremony after a defeat on the battlefield. Thus, the textiles produced in the Weaving Scene not only had correlates in Moche art, but were probably pr estigious goods created for the Moche elite. Decorated Vessels Another common element in the eight weaving sub-scenes is the presence of one or more decorated ceramic vessels. These vessels are found floating either directly above the head of the weaver or to her side. Since they are always depicted within the confines of the individual’s workspace, they appear to be associated with the weaver represented


29 below. Little is known of the function and signi ficance of decorated ve ssels in the lives of the Moche, but the Weaving Scene may help to decode their role. Decorated Ceramics in Moche Archaeology Archaeological contexts of Moche decorate d ceramics provide important clues into the role of ceramics in Moche culture. Although high quality ceramics are best known from looted artifacts in museum collections , some examples have been excavated from sites throughout the lower valleys and a fe w locations north of the Pampa de Paijan. Donnan and Mackey (1978) published an analys is of their excavations of burials in the Moche Valley. Their sample included ove r three hundred examples of decorated ceramics. Stirrup spout vessels, flaring bowls , dippers and jars were among the artifacts produced by their excavations. They found gr eat variety not only in the quantity and quality of the vessels but also in the individua ls they were buried with as well. Analysis revealed no clear correlation between the ceramic vessel type s and age or gender of the buried individual. In the North, examples of Moche decora ted ceramics were found at Sipan, San Jose de Moro and Pampa Grande, as well as at ot her smaller sites. Vessels from burials at Sipan and San Jose de Moro indicate their status as elite objects. The tombs of the Warrior Priest, the Bird Prie st and the Priestess each pr oduced stirrup spout vessels. Since these individuals were cl early of high status, their asso ciation with these decorated ceramics is a testament to their value with in Moche society. Although decorated ceramics are most often found in burials, examples ha ve been produced in other contexts. For instance, Shimada (2001: 188-189, 186) recovere d a flaring bowl and a stirrup spout vessel from a copper workshop at Pampa Gra nde and a painted flaring bowl from a


30 weaver’s workshop at the same site. The importance of the latte r discovery will be discussed in greater detail below. Decorated Ceramics in Moche Iconography Analysis of decorated ceramics in the iconography also indicates their function as prestigious goods in Moche society. There are several examples of Moche art in which important figures are associated stirrup s pout vessels. Figure 2.7 depicts one such example that is believed to portray the arrai gnment of captives in front of a Moche elite prior to their deaths in the Sacrifice Ceremony (Alva and Donnan 1993: 131). A stirrup spout bottle floats next to th e back of the important indivi dual. The bottle is decorated with fineline painting in a repeating steppe d grec motif. As in the Weaving Scene, the vessel is unrealistically portrayed here in a floating position. It is possible that the floating vessels acted as an artistic convention indicating high status in Moche society. Such an interpretation is supported by analysis of another scene, Figure 2.8. In this scene a stirrup spout vessel floats next to anothe r member of the Moche elite. This figure’s status is indicated by the fact that he sits on a raised platform, wears an elaborate headdress, and is covered by a ga bled structure. Furthermore, he is the recipient of a large offering of gourd bowls and is th e focus of attention of the othe r figures in the scene. It is noteworthy that a flaring bowl is located on the ground below the floating stirrup spout bottle but both are within the confines of the gabled stru cture. Also, a number of gourd containers with “feet” appear on ground lines or shelters along the side, which clearly distinguishes the stirrup spout for its lack of a ground line. Two sub-scenes, A, and H of the Weaving Scene depict flaring bowls below floating vessels. Although the vessel in A is not a stir rup spout vessel, the fact that spout and handle bottles generally contain similar de corative content and in some cases were


31 produced from the same molds as stirrup spout vessels, suggests that they may have been substituted interchangeably (Donnan and McCl elland 1999: 82). The association of the two bottles with flaring bowls may prove to be significant. An examination of other examples in which stirrup spout (or spout and handle) vessels are found in association with flaring bowls reveals that the differen t vessel types were intentionally linked. Other examples of scenes in Moche ic onography depict flaring bowls in close proximity to stirrup spout vessels. One scene identified by Bourget (ms.) as relating to a copulation narrative depicts a floating flaring bowl adjacent to a floating stirrup spout vessel (Figure 2.9). Bourget (ms.: 96) suggests that this scene is part of a larger story in which a human female copulates with a prom inent supernatural in Moche art known as Wrinkle Face. In several depictions of this scene, stirrup spout vessels float above the female’s head, which he suggests conjure scen es of burial and sacrifice (Bourget ms. 96). In addition to their relative proximity, the an alogous animal motifs decorating the flaring bowl and stirrup spout vessels in this scene indi cate that the two vessels were meant to be viewed as a pair. Further evidence for the use of stirrup spout vessels in conjunction with flaring bowls comes from an example in wh ich their decorations are identical (Figure 2.10). Again, their related decoratio ns suggest concurrent use. It is worth noting that two sub-scenes (B and D) contain floating flaring bowls that are not associated with other ceramic types. Th is demonstrates that not all depictions of flaring bowls were represented as part of a set, although it is also possible that the presence of complementary vessels were assumed in these cases. What Can Be Learned From Decorated Ceramics In The Weaving Scene? The presence of decorated ceramics in burials and non-funerary archaeological contexts indicates that they held multiple functions in the Moche world. In terms of their


32 depictions in art, we have seen that one function could have been their use as a convention for indicating elite status. In additi on to their use as an artistic convention, the iconographic depictions of decorated ceramics may also aid in our understanding of their use by Moche people. When read as reflections of real life objects, ceramics within Moche art may help lead to a better u nderstanding of their real life use. There are three classes of individuals th at are often depicted carrying ceramic vessels. One such class is best demonstrated in the effigy of an individual that can be described as the “Whistler” (see Figure 2.11) The Whistler is depict ed standing with his arms full of ceramics and his lips pursed as if he is carrying a tune . This individual holds a stirrup spout vessel and a mat in his right ar m and a flaring bowl and a dipper in his left. Donnan (1978: 156) notes that although this indi vidual was originally identified as a “pot vendor” he more likely represents a ritual healer. Donnan propos es that the “Whistler” is related to a class of anthr opomorphized bats who are also commonly depicted carrying decorated ceramics. Bats were thought to have held beneficial properties in PreColumbian times, and bat fetishes are even found on curers’ mesas in modern Peru (Donnan 1978: 156). Since both the Whistler and anthropomorphized bats are found carrying similar vessels, it is possible that they were both involved in similar activities. Another class of Moche indivi duals who often carry cerami c vessels is referred to by Larco Hoyle (2001[1938]: 191) as “mutilated” figures. He proposed that this group of figures who are missing their lips and noses were subject to co rporal punishment. Elizabeth Benson (1972: 68) disagrees with th is interpretation. Instead of punishment, she suggests the individuals’ deformities resu lt from disease, most likely, leishmaniasis or leprosy.


33 She then suggests that these figures were ritual healers. Bens on notes that several American cultures viewed individuals with phys ical abnormalities as having supernatural qualities that could aid in th e ritual healing process. Thus, we have three classes of figures iden tified as relating to ritual healing. The fact that they each carry similar ceramic ve ssel types suggests the use of ceramics in curing rituals. Although stirrup spout vessels, flaring bow ls and dippers are not among the objects recorded on the mesas of modern folk healers, bottles containing sacred substances are plentiful, and these may take th e place of ceramic vessels used in antiquity (Gillin 1947: 124-125; Sharon and Donnan 1974). Weaving Implements Another similarity in the sub-scenes ex amined here is the depiction of objects related to weaving. Examples of weaving im plements can be found in other iconographic scenes. In Figure 2.12, we find fineline depictio ns of what appear to be the frame for a backstrap loom, associated with a spindle of thread. This fi neline decoration is found on a stirrup spout vessel with a figure that is cl early female due to her long braided hair (Hocquenghem and Lyon 1980: 27). In a simila r scene (Figure 2.13) we find two seated females facing each other. Like the deck figure in Figure 2.12, their faces are painted and their hair is braided. A spindle floats in fr ont of each woman while their backstrap looms are attached to structures similar to those in the Weaving Scene. These women seem to be in conversation, possibly on a break from thei r textile production. The idea that weaving was a social activity could pres ent itself here. As noted above, some of the females in the Weaving Scene are oriented clockwise while others are counterclockwise, which results in three instances of adjacent weavers facing each other. This was likely an effort to represent imagery of social behavior rather than to conserve space. Although it may be


34 argued that the weavers faced each as the resu lt of sharing a support post, it seems that the decision to face a fellow weaver was intentio nal. Each of the weavers A, B, D, E, G, and H, could just as easily have set up thei r loom on the opposite post, facing away from the adjacent weaver and providing more privac y. This is not the case, and as in Figure 2.13, the women of the Weaving Scene all have parted lips indicati ng they are speaking to one another, or possibl y singing while they work. Archaeological evidence suggests that weav ing was an activity commonly associated with females. Excavations from Pacatnamu pr oduced twenty burials with objects related to weaving. Of these, seventeen were associat ed with adult females and three others were adults of undetermined sex (Millaire 2002: 147).


35 Figure 2.1 Photos of the Weaving Scene Vessel. (Benson 1972:103; Boston 1980: Plate 88)


36 Figure 2.2 Donna McClelland’s Reconstruction of the Weaving Scene with Labels Added. (After Donnan and McClelland 1999: 126)


37 Figure 2.3 Cristobal Campana’s Reconstruction of the Weaving Scene. (Campana 1983: 96)


38 Figure 2.4 Anne Marie Hocquenghem’s Artistic Reconstruction of the Weaving Scene. (Hocquenghem 1987: Figs 37a, 37b)


39 Figure 2.5 Warrior Regalia with Designs Si milar to the Weaving Scene. (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 107, 88)


40 Figure 2.6 Head Cloths on Portrait Head Vesse ls Similar to Designs from the Weaving Scene. (Donnan 2004: 97, 165, 96; Donnan and McClelland 1999: 126)


41 Figure 2.7 Arraignment of Bound Captiv es. (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 245) Figure 2.8 Presentation of Food to a Moch e Elite. (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 113)


42 Figure 2.9 Copulation Scene Including Stirrup Spout Bottle Associated with a Flaring Bowl. (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 127) Figure 2.10 Stirrup Spout Vessel and Flaring Bowl Decorated with the Same Design. (Photograph by Christopher Donnan.) .


43 Figure 2.11 Three Classes of Figures Interprete d as Ritual Healers. (Top left photograph by Christopher Donnan. Top right and bottom photographs by Ethan Cole.)


44 Figure 2.12 Weaving Implements Painted on a Stirrup Spout Vessel. (Drawing by Donna McClelland. Photograph by Christopher Donnan.) Figure 2.13 Two Female Weavers on Br eak. (Drawing by Donnan McClelland.)


45 CHAPTER 3 DECORATED CERAMICS IN MOCHE ART AND ARCHAEOLOGY The second set of sub-scenes discussed here depicts activities that are not associated with the physical ac t of textile making. Instead, the individuals in sub-scenes F and J appear to be engaged in some form of interaction. Like that of the weaving subscenes, a detailed description of these images and their subsequent interpretation helps provide insight into their ancient meaning. Sub-scene F . Two seated figures interacting. 1. A seated figure holding their left ha nd out with three outlined dots in between the thumb and pointed finger. Th is figure is nearly twice as large as the weavers, and wears a more elaborate dress. A full length striped tunic adorns their body, while they wear a geometric decorated headdress. 2. A seated figure holding a chili pepper cl ose to their mouth, as if to eat it. This figure is smaller than its counterp art (F1), and is more proportionate to the weavers. The individual is wear ing a headdress, a plainly decorated tunic and a striped skirt. 3. Prepared food in double-gourd containers . These two elements are similar in overall shape to a number of ceramic effigies. These vessels clearly demonstrate that such containers were meant to hold two different types of food served at once (see Donnan 1978 Fig 261). 4. A jar with a vegetive element neck tie and a diagonal outlined stripe decorating its chamber. 5. A jar with an outlined stripe decorating its upper chamber. 6. A small vessel, likely a cuenca (a small undecorated domestic ceramic vessel). 7. An unidentifiable bowl-shaped object.


46 Sub-scene J . A more elaborate scene depict ing two figures involved in an exchange, with two other seated figures observing. 1. A seated figure. Their hands are fa cing palm up, with their right arm extended and their left tucked-in to wards the side. The figure wears a geometrically decorated headdress, a tunic and a st riped skirt. 2. A jar with vegetive elements around the neck and an outlined stripe that decorates its chamber. 3. A jar with a rope tied around its neck. It is decorated with an outlined diagonal stripe on its chamber. 4. A floating stirrup spout vessel. This vessel is larger and depicted in a superior quality than the others in th e Weaving Scene. Its upper chamber is decorated with inverted stepped grec designs protruding from an outlined stripe. 5. A standing figure who appears to be the best dressed of the Weaving Scene, he wears a tunic with decorated sleeves , a swatch of design on the chest and tassels at the knees. The figure also wears an elaborately decorated headdress and holds his right hand ope n, either passing or receiving a small bowl from Figure J6. 6. A figure seated under the cover of a stru cture. The figure wears a headdress, has a tunic with a swatch on it and a st riped skirt. This figure is either passing or receiving a bowl from Figure J5. 7. A figure seated on the base of a struct ure, but is not unde r its roof. This figure wears an elaborate headdress, a nd a tunic with decorated sleeves. The arms of this figure are positioned like those of Figure J1. 8. A long fish, possibly belonging to Figure J7. Despite their different modes of dress, a nd variant headdresses, the figures of subscene F and J have all been identified as males (Shimada 1994: 209; 2001: 187). This interpretation is supported by the fact that the figures do not adhere to the list of disctinctly feminine feat ures proposed by Hocquenghem and Lyon (1980: 27, 29) Although the details of both sub-scenes are different, it appears that the activities depicted in F and J are similar. These subscenes appear to depict the exchange of foodstuffs. Due to their re lative locations it is possible to argue that the long fish (J8) is


47 associated with Figure J7, and that vessels J2 and J3 are associated with figure J1. Since, Figure F1 is seated prominently ne xt to the structure, it appear s that he is the proprietor of the contents of the adjacent gourd containers (F3). The Exchange Figures F1 and either J5 or J6 appear to be caught in the act of serving substances in containers, Figure F1 holds his left hand out with three outlined dots in between his thumb and forefinger, whereas J5 and J6 ar e passing a bowl between the two; although it is unclear who is the recipient. It seems that this exchange in a domestic setting is unique to the Weaving Scene for my study turned up no other clear examples of a presentation, with the exception of ritually charged cont exts such as the Sacrifice Ceremony. Thus, it is possible that the Weaving Scene is linked to such ceremonial offerings. As noted above in Figure 2.8, a Moche elite is presented w ith animated double-gourd containers in one scene and the main event of the Sacrifice Ceremony is the passing of a goblet that may contain human blood. It seems more likely, how ever, that the exchange between J5 and J6 appears to be of a secular nature as there are no supernatural elements in this scene and the participants seem to be dressed in ordina ry elite attire. This does not preclude ritual significance from this scene, as Donnan ( 1978: 178, 1997) has demonstrated that even scenes that appear secular ma y have religious undertones, bu t at this point there is no evidence to suggest religious si gnificance in this exchange. Although J5 and J6 have no clear parallel in Moche art, there may be a correlate for F1 as there is one depiction that also seems to relate to the dist ribution of food (Figure 3.1). In sub-scene J, we find four individuals interacting. The indi vidual to the extreme right wears a striped loincloth and wears a similar headdress to figure F1. In addition, this figure stands next to a doublegourd container. To his left is a seated figure whose neck


48 garment appears to have held a series of dot s. He appears to be involved with a kneeling figure. Between the two, alongsid e the platform, is a long fish. To the extreme right is another figure observing the conversation. Th e focus of this scene appears to be the interaction between the two facing figures. Bo th of these figures have the thumb and forefinger touching on their extended hands . Donnan and McClelland (1999: 108) note that this hand gesture was commonly de picted in Moche iconography, although its message remains enigmatic. What is clear is that this scene and the sub-scene designated F are related because both depict figures w earing similar headdresses and are positioned in relative proximity to double-gourd containe rs. The nature of the exchange must be elaborated in future investigations before we can understand what these images portray. Evidence for Elite Status An analysis in the participants of the exchange in the Weaving Scene may benefit interpretation of its meaning. It seems that the individuals J5 and J6 are members of the Moche elite. Evidence for this identification comes from the textile swatches on their tunics and the stirrup spout vessel floating between them. Shirt Patches Two of the largest and most prominent fi gures of the Weaving Scene, J5 and J6, have swatches of elaborate textiles, adorni ng their shirts just be low the neck. Although the designs of these fragments do not appe ar to correspond to those on the backstrap looms, similar depictions of swatches occur in other examples of Moche art. Described as “badges” by Benson (1972: 108) and “shirt patches” by Donnan and Donnan (1997: 226), these adornments may have designated high soci al status. This interp retation is supported by the fact that these textile fragments almost always occur on the chests of seated males (Figure 3.2). My study produced only one exam ple in which a shirt patch was found on a


49 standing figure. This individua l turned out to be a male amputee and is shown with a prosthetic right foot (Fig ure 3.3). The amputee was likel y an important individual because a great degree of labor and medical attention was involved in creating and attaching a prosthetic limb. A Floating Stirrup Spout Vessel In addition to shirt patches, the presen ce of a floating stirrup spout vessel (J4) appears to mark the elite status of Figures J5 and J6. Although the central location of the vessel makes it difficult to determine which fi gure it is associated with, the high quality of its decoration indicates th at the owner was of particul arly high status. Strong and Evans (1952: 221) noted that a great range ex ists in the quality of craftsmanship and decoration in ceramic vessels. Here, we app ear to have an example of an object of particularly good quality as its chamber and spout are sy mmetrical and the inverted stepped grec design was carefully depicted. Ot her examples of this motif can be found on vessels such as that in Figure 2.5. In this case, stepped grecs decorate the flaring bowl belonging to an important indivi dual. It seems that his associ ation with the stepped grec decorated flaring bowl indicates the value the ceramic piece. The stepped-grec motif itself may provide insight into the significance of the vessel it decorates. Stepped-grec’s are formed by tw o separate but linked elements: a step and a scroll. The stepped element of this geomet ric design refers to the sea or maritime activities because similar scrolls are used to depict waves and some examples of steppedgrec designs end in fish heads (Figures 3.4 a nd 3.5). On the other hand, steps may refer to man-made or natural mountains as similar designs can be substituted for steps to platform mounds or natural hills (Figures 3.6 and 3.7). Thus, it seems that the combination of the two elements speaks to the Moche’s dual re liance and mutual reverence for both the


50 mountains and the sea. This may be indicativ e of a connection between the owner of the vessel and Moche corporate id eology. That is to say, since the stepped-grec design integrates aspects important to the Moche pa ntheon, it is likely that the owner of this vessel had ties to the Moche religious instituti on and was indeed a member of the elite. Examples of Jars With Neck Ties The stirrup spout vessel disc ussed above is not the only significant ceramic vessel in the only two sub-scenes that do not show w eaving. A pair of jars designated J2, J3, F4 and F5 are adjacent to one another, yet their d ecorations differe in sub-scenes F and J. In sub-scene J, the jar with vege tive neck tie has an outlined stripe around the circumference of its chamber whereas that of F has a diagonal stripe. Jar J3 which ha s a twine neck tie is similarly decorated. This variation of design s uggests that the jars were not meant to be distinguished by their designs. This becomes clear when one observes other examples in which jars have both vegetive elements and twine decorating their necks and one has a diagonal shape whereas the other has a horiz ontal band. Figures 3.8 and 3.9 present jars that appear similar in shape to those of the Weaving Scene, although instead of having either a vegetive or twine neck tie, they exhi bit both. It is interes ting that these scenes contain elements of ritual, a topic that will be discussed later as part of Benson’s (1972) interpretation of the Weaving Scene. In addition to examples of twine and vegetive neck tie jars, there are an abunda nce of vessels with only th e twine neck ornamentation. Returning to two images previously discu ssed in this study, Figures 2.12 and 2.13 present jars in scenes related to the Weaving S cene. In Figure 2.13, the two women who have temporarily halted their textile production have three such jars resting between them. The importance of this will be discussed in a section on the archaeological excavation of a


51 weaving workshop at Pampa Grande, a site th at produced examples of similar ceramic jars. Interpretations of the Weaving Scene Now that each sub-scene and its individual elements have been identified, the significance of the Weaving Scene as a whol e needs to be interpreted. A number of previous authors have offered their interpretations of this scene. Although he avoids providing a detailed acc ount of the activities shown, Bawden (1996: 95) notes the high level of or ganization involved in textile production depicted in the Weaving Scene. He observes that like the In ca, the Moche valued high quality textiles. The individuals of sub-scenes F, and J are thought to be supervisors who oversaw the weavers in order to control the quality and production of these prestigious goods (Bawden 1996: 93-94). Cristobal Campana (1983: 21, 1994) echoes this assertion that the Weaving Scene indicates elite organization of craft production. He de scribes the largest figure in this scene as, “Seor del taller” w ho is a patron sponsoring the artisans of the weaving workshop depicted in this scene (C ampana 1994: 454). The Seor del taller is suggested to control the produc tion of the textiles, and had the authority to choose the textile designs being create d on the weavers’ looms. Benson (1972) believes that this scene is not representative of common textile production activities; rather she a sserts it held ritual meaning. She r ecognizes that jars with vegetive elements or rope tied around the neck ar e charateristic of funerary scenes. Since examples of these are presen t in the fineline decoration of the British Museum piece, she believes that the Weaving Scene is ceremonial , and possibly related to the production of grave goods for a specific i ndividual (Benson 1972: 106).


52 Hocquenghem (1987: 85) also interprets th is scene as holding ritual significance. She believes that the activities of the Weaving Scene may rela te to celebrations of the September solar zenith. Cristobal de Molina, a Spanish chronicler who from in the early years of Spanish colonial rule, observed that in September, the Inca celebrated a festival known as omac raymi , in which women pierced the ears of their children and produced clothing for the festival. The weaving was sa id to have been done with the help of relatives and the festival was preceded by se veral days of drinking within the house. Although this scene has no indi cations of solar imagery, Hocquenghem suggests that the production of textiles by the women and an interpretation that men prepare metal ornaments (the individuals in sub-scenes F, and J) relate to the festival described by Molina. Larco (2001[1938]: 184) compares the Weavi ng Scene to practices of pooled labor from modern day Peru. He notes that often times a salesman will travel to distant villages to collect orders for clothing. Upon completi ng a number of sales, he will return home where he has set up a pool of labor among local females. He then tells the women what he needs and they produce textil es to fit the order. In addition to monetary compensation, the salesman is also expected to provide th e women with food and drink. Larco suggests that a similar situation exis ts in the Weaving Scene. Th e two non-weaving scenes are found to depict the provisioning of food and be verage to the artisans, while the vessels associated with each weaver represent beve rages they have received from their patron. This type of reciprocal rela tionship between the individuals in sub-scenes F and J and the weavers is also proposed by Shimada.


53 Archaeological Evidence for a Weaving Workshop at Pampa Grande In his excavations of the Northern Moche site, Pampa Grande in the Lambayeque Valley, Izumi Shimada recovered evidence for a weaving workshop. Shimada (1994: 206-210, 2001) found artifacts related to weaving in two separa te locations. A courtyard in Compound 14 (referred to as “Deer House”) produced the charred remains of cotton in the early stages of being processed into thread. Although he rec overed large amounts of cotton fiber from the courtyard, which apparen tly had been destroyed by fire in antiquity, Shimada found no evidence that weaving took place there. Alternatively, Room-Block 70 in Section H of another compound revealed only evidence for text ile production. Citing an investigation by John Topic, Shimada ( 2001:193) notes that evidence for modular craft production was present at the Chimu cap ital of Chan Chan. Topic found that the preparatory stages of weaving and metalwor king were performed in a barrio associated with commoners, while another more presti gious area provided evidence for the final stages of production. Using the Chan Chan example as a model, Shimada (2001: 193) proposes that the two locations at Pampa Gr ande represent activi ties performed by two different groups, as the weavers created textiles in Room-Block 70 while others processed cotton and prepared thread at Deer House. Shimada relates the activities in Room-B lock 70 to the Weaving Scene. He notes that among the artifacts recovered from this room were a painted flaring bowl, two jars and well-worn batten, a tool necessary for weaving with a backstrap loom (Shimada 1994: 209, 2001: 186). Additional architectural el ements suggest a connection with the fineline decoration. Room-Block 70 contained re mains of two structures. In the northeast corner of the room stood a raised platform with a ramp and posthol es. The center of the room was dominated by a structure with a si ngle adobe wall, leav ing three open airways


54 to the courtyard; an optimal setup for mani pulating a backstrap loom. Shimada compares these to the structures in the Weaving Scene. He identifies Figures F1 and J6 as elites who oversaw the weavers as they sat in the ramped structure which provided an excellent view of the activities in the center of the room (Shimada 1994: 209; 2001: 186). Shimada also provides a discussion about th e relationship between the artisans and the elite patrons they worked for. He obs erves that there was likely no contractual obligation for the artisans to work for a particul ar lord. As a result, the elites were forced to maintain good relations with their work ers and often provided food and chicha in reciprocation for services rendered. Shimad a suggests that at Pampa Grande, such a relationship existed as evidence for a chicha kitchen was found in a room adjacent to the weaving workshop. Furthermore, Shimada sugge sts that such a relationship would help explain the presence of food and the passing of a bowl between Figures J5 and J6 in the Weaving Scene. He identifies the two jars J2 and J3 as chicha containers and compares them to jars present in Pampa Grande’s arch aeological record. Such an interpretation of the Weaving Scene not only aids in the explan ation of the presence of the ceramic vessels associated with each weaver, but also acc ounts for their pleased facial expressions. Apparently, the weavers were rewarded with alcohol for th eir labor and were perhaps even embibed while they worked.


55 Figure 3.1 Possible Example of Excha nge. (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 108) Figure 3.2 Stirrup Spout Vessel Showing a Shir t Patch on a Seated Individual. (Larco 2001[1938] Fig. 263) Figure 3.3 Amputee with a Shirt Patch on Chest. (Larco 2001[1938] Fig. 279)


56 Figure 3.4 Fineline Depiction of Waves. (From Donnan and McClelland 1999: 122) Figure 3.5 Stepped-Grec Motif Ending in a Fish Head. (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 77) Figure 3.6 Stepped Designs Substituted for Platform Mound Steps. (Donnan and McClelland: 100)


57 Figure 3.7 Stepped Designs Representing Na tural Topography. (Donnan and McClelland: 123) Figure 3.8 Jar with Vegetive and Twine Neck Ties. (Drawing by Donna McClelland.) Figure 3.9 Jars with Vegetive and Twine N eck Ties. (Donnan and McClelland 1999: 117)


58 CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSIONS Realistic depictions of life on the North Co ast of Peru have prompted researchers to propose links between Moche decorated ceramic s and archaeological remains. My study focuses on decoding cultural information from a unique piece noted for its naturalistic representation of human activities. The Weaving Scene provides a glimpse of the activities surrounding orga nized textile production in Moche society. An analysis of this piece has produced a number of observations. The most significant is the identification of floating vessels as an arti stic convention for indicating el ite status. The Weaving Scene contains several examples of stirrup spout bottles, spout and handle bottles and flaring bowls that hover above the seated females a nd between Figures J5 and J6. Similar scenes of floating vessels in Moche art were found to be associated almost exclusively with prominent human figures, recognized by their large size or positi on in architectural contexts such as palaces or temples. Recogni zing the floating vessels to be a symbol for high social status, the weavers in this scen e were identified as members of the Moche elite. This suggestion was supported by ar chaeological excavati ons of a weaving workshop at Pampa Grande, which produced arti facts similar to those depicted in the Weaving Scene, such as a flaring bowl and a pair of jars. Evidence from the Pampa Grande weaving workshop also led to the proposition that the weavers represented on the Britis h Museum piece were not contractually obligated to work for a specific patron, but were enticed by offerings of food and alcoholic beverages (Shimada 2001: 196-198). Although this interpre tation links the


59 Weaving Scene to the archaeological record at Pampa Grande, anot her explanation better incorporates aspects of the Weav ing Scene discussed in this study. Identification of Moche Mamakonas in the Weaving Scene The flaring bowl from the British Museum depicts a group of highly skilled women who represented the last and most prestigious line in a chain of textile production. Having their thread delivered to them on prepar ed spindles, these weavers focused on the production of woven items that, once completed, would be worn by members of the elite. In addition to weaving prestigious clothing th ey were probably also responsible for the education of young weavers, like one seen on the vessel (I4), the Moche version of the Inca Chosen Women. In Inca times, young girls of striking beauty were taken from their families to be become trained members of the aqllakunas , or Chosen Women. The aqllakunas were educated in activities normally devoted to women, with the intention of becoming either the wives of prominent Incas or Mamakonas , the instructors of the aqllakunas . Mamakonas were lifelong virgins of varying age who devoted th eir lives to training the aqllakunas (Cobo 2005[1653]: 236). Living in seclusion within the House of the Chosen Women, the Mamakonas only contact with outsiders was restricted to Imperial administrators who overs aw the training of the aqllakuna . Responsibilities of the Mamakonas included teaching the Chosen Women valu able elite skills such as weaving, preparing food and brewing chicha. It seems that nearly all of the characteris tics of this description are present in aspects of the Weaving Scene. First, the relationship between the Mamakonas and the Weaving Scene helps to explain th e range of the weavers’ ages apparent in this scene. As previously noted, the number of wrinkles va ries among the seated females on the British


60 Museum vessel. Although some show indications of extreme old age, such as figures G3 and E4, others show fewer signs of aging, es pecially the wrinklefree weaver in subscene I. In addition to varian ce in the ages of the weav ers, their identification as Mamakonas helps to explain the presence non-we aving activities on this vessel. Archaeological evidence for a chicha kitc hen adjacent to the weaving workshop at Pampa Grande also supports the li nk between the Weaving Scene and the Mamakonas . Here, we find direct physical evidence for a connection between textile weaving and chicha brewing. Although Shimada (2001: 196-1 97) suggested that the chicha kitchen functioned to provide libations in exchange for manual labor , an alternative explanation is that the close proximity of the chicha kitchen to the weaving workshop allowed the elite females to multitask; passing their time weaving while waiting for the chicha to ferment. In addition to weaving instructi on, the Mamakonas were also responsible for chicha production, accordi ng to accounts from historic sources (Cobo 2005[1653]: 236). Cobo’s description of Imperial overseers al so presents a strong connection between Mamakonas , the Weaving Scene and the Pampa Grande excavations. Shimada (1994: 208-209; 2001: 186) notes that a structure found within the weav ing workshop likely functioned as an overseer’s observation platform . He suggests that this administrator was in charge of ensuring the quality of the text iles. Such an interpretation is in agreement with Bawden (1996: 93-94) who similarly iden tifies the seated figures in sub-scenes F and J as quality-controlling administrators. Here, the description of the Mamakonas adheres to both iconographic and archaeologi cal evidence for Moche organized weaving activities.


61 Finally, the identification of the females in the Weaving Scene as the Moche equivalent of Mamakonas speaks to their raised status as indicated by floating decorated vessels. Upon reaching fourteen years of age, the Chosen Women either married men in service to the Inca, became sacrificial victim s or servants to the Inca, or they became Mamakonas themselves (D’Altroy 2002: 189). Th erefore, in order to serve as Mamakonas , one was first a member of the Chosen Women. Both positions were highly valued in Inca society as the Chosen Women created royal textiles, while the Mamakonas served as their teachers as well as Prieste sses of temples dedicated to Thunder and the Sun (Cobo 2005[1653]:236). It is thus, not su rprising to find an elite status of Mamakonas indicated in the Weaving Scene by associated floating vessels. The connection between the Weaving S cene and a description of the Inca Mamakonas was first noted by Rebeca Carrin Cac hot (cited in Larco 2001[1938]: 182), but, her interpretation failed to include archaeol ogical evidence to substantiate her claim. It could be for this reason that her idea has been largely ignored in modern interpretations of this scene. My study finds strong iconogr aphic, archaeological and ethnohistoric evidence to support linking the Moche weavers’ to the Inca royal institution of weaving. The style of the fineline deco rations is characteristic of Mo che Phase IV, which has been described here as belonging to a southern Mo che. Further, the flaring bowl ceramic form that the Weaving Scene decorates suggests that this piece originated near the core area. It is not surprising that the Moche could share a weav ing tradition with the Inca despite their great geographic a nd temporal differences. Andean cultures have been noted for maintaining longstanding traditions acro ss time and space. For instance, the stirrup spout bottle, though the hallmark of Moche art, was neither a Moche invention nor was it


62 discontinued after their fall from powe r around AD 800. This ceramic form proved extremely enduring as examples can be traced as far back as the Machalilla culture which settled Ecuador’s Pacific coast from BCE 1200-800, and lasted well into the fifteenth century AD in the Peruvian coastal ki ngdom of Chimor (Bruhns 1999: 93, 111). Ceramic Vessel Use in Moche Society In addition to recognizing floating vessels as elite markers and identifying the females of the Weaving Scene as the Moche equivalent of Mamakonas , my study also reveals valuable information concerning the Moche’s use of decorated ceramics. Despite the fact that these artifacts have received more scholarly attention than any other aspect of Moche culture, the functi on of decorated ceramic vessels remains a mystery. Early scholars suggested that they were created primarily to be grave goods (Kroeber 1925: 202), although recently authors have provided evidence for the use of decorated ceramics in other contexts (D onnan and McClelland 1999: 18-19; Millaire 2002: 130; Shimada 1994: 209). Donnan and McCl elland (1999: 18-19) note that many stirrup spout vessels exhibit ev idence of chipping and mending that indicate frequent use and, Shimada (1994: 209) excavated a painte d flaring bowl from the weaving workshop at Pampa Grande, clearly a non-funerary cont ext. In this study, I provide iconographic evidence for the frequent use of decorated cer amics in a number of different ritual and non-ritual contexts. Several examples of use in quasi-ritual context can be s een in modeled effigies of ritual healers. As noted above , depictions of the Whistler, an anthropomorphized bat and a “mutilated” figure have each been identified as relating to curing rituals (Figure 2.11). These individuals all carry decorated ceramics in their hands. The Whistler holds a stirrup spout vessel and a mat in his right arm and a fl aring bowl, a dipper in his left and wears a


63 jar on his head. The “mutilated” figure carri es a stirrup spout ve ssel in one hand and a dipper in the other, while the anthropomor phized bat wears a flar ing bowl on his head, and carries a stirrup spout ve ssel and what appears to be a flaring bowl in his hands. Since these figures are actively engaged in ha ndling these different ceramic types, they likely intended to use them in cl ose proximity to one another. It is also noteworthy that each of these figures carries a different combination of vessels. Recall that stirrup spout vessels s pout and handle vessels, flaring bowls and dippers were the most commonly decorated Mo che vessel types. The reason for this may lie in the fact that the four ceramic types were meant to be used as a set. Iconographic evidence supports this as examples of erotic sc enes contain fineline depictions of several different vessel types (see Figure 4.1). Their pr esence in this scene in dicates that 1) they were used by the couple prior to or after copulation, or 2) these wares were commonly stored in close proximity to sleeping quarters, suggesting daily use. Although future investigations will be require d to better understand the exac t function of each of these types, it is clear that th e vessels had related functions and ritual si gnificance. The Significance of Interpretin g Moche Culture through Images This investigation produced a number of conclusions regarding Moche culture, analyzing the way the Moche ar tists conveyed meaning throu gh their art. My research suggests that their decorated ceramics were used as sets in related activities and examined some of the contexts these sets are seen i n. The most significant finding seems to be their association with elites as well as acti vities related to ritual healing. Difficulties arise when attempting to extract cultural meaning from a society without a recognizable writing system. Since th e Moche left no written record of their beliefs and no “blueprint” of their social sy stem survives in the ethnohistorical record,


64 scholars must piece together the past using all available materials. This study employed examples from iconography, the archaeological record and an Inca et hnohistoric account in order to assemble supporting evidence to substantia te a range of arguments. It is this type of interdisciplinary appr oach that most effectively advances the field of Moche studies. When used in tandem, these sources pr ovide a better pe rspective of the past than any one alone. The years ahead will present great advances in the study of Moche culture. Expanding archaeological investigations w ill no doubt produce more data and artifacts that will likely inspire new perspectives of life on the ancient North Coast. This investigation has followed precedents for interd isciplinary analysis that have had great success in previous studies of this enigmatic culture. Working between set disciplines, Moche scholars have benefited by taking advant age of the strengths of each discipline and cross-checking the lines of evidence agains t each other. A continued effort to connect artistic images with, historic accounts and th e archaeological record may reveal that the realism in Moche art does not ac t as a “picture book,” rather it is more like a “map,” or a visual reminder of ancient traditi ons that remain to be decoded.


65 Figure 4.1 A Copulation Scene with Associ ated Ceramic Vessels. (Image from the Moche Archive at UCLA)


66 LIST OF REFERENCES Alva, Walter, and Christopher B. Donnan 1993 Royal Tombs of Sipan . Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, Los Angeles. Bawden, Garth 1996 The Moche . Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. Bennett, Wendell B. 1963[1946] The Archaeology of the Central Andes. In, Handbook of South American Indians, vol. 2. Julian Steward, general editor. Pp. 61-147. New York: Coopers Square Publishing. Benson, Elizabeth P. 1972 The Mochica . New York: Praeger Publishers. Boone, Elizabeth H. 2000 The Stories in Red and Black . Austin: University of Texas Press. Boston, David M. 1980 Masterpieces of Western and Near Eastern Ceramics, vol. III. Precolumbian Pottery of the Americas . New York: Kodansha International/USA, Ltd., through Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc. Bourget, Steven ms. Sex, Death and Sacrifice in Mo che Religion and Visual Culture. 2001 Rituals of Sacrifice: Its Pract ice at Huaca de la Luna and Its Representation in Moche Iconography. In, Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru , Joanne Pillsbury, editor. Pp. 89-111. New Haven: Yale University Press. Bruhns, Karen O. 1999 Ancient South America . New York: Cambridge University Press. Campana, Cristobal 1983 La Vivienda Mochica . Trujillo: Editorial Varese S.A. 1984 La Cultura Mochica . Lima: Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologa. 1994 El Entorno Cultural en un Dibujo Mochica. In, Moche: Propuestas y Perpectivas, Actas del Primer Coloquio sobre la Cultura Mochica . Santiago Uceda and Elias Mujica, editors. Lima : Universidad Nacional de la Libertad.


67 Castillo, Luis Jaime and Christopher B. Donnan 1994 Los Mochica del Norte y los Mochica del Sur. In, Vicus , by Krzystof Makowski, Christopher B. Donnan, Ivn Amaro Bullon, Luis Jaime Castillo, Magdalena Diez-Cansec o, Otto Elspuru Revoredo and Juan Antonio Murro Mena. Pp. 93-146. Lima: Coleccin Arte y Tesoros del Per, Banco de Crdito del Per. Cobo, Bernabe 1979[1653] History of the Inca Empire: An Account of the Indians’ Customs and Their Origin Together with a Treatise on Inca Legends, History, and Social Institutions. Roland Hamilton, translator and ed. Austin: University of Texas Press. Cordy-Collins, Alana 1977 The Moon is a Boat: A Study in Iconographic Methodology. In, Pre Columbian Art History: Selected Readings , Alana Cordy-Collins and Jean Stern, editors. Pp. 421-434. Pa lo Alto: Peek Publications. D’Altroy, Terence N. 2002 The Incas . Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing Inc. Donnan, Christopher B. 1976 Moche Art and Iconography . Los Angeles: Latin American Center Publication, University of California, Los Angeles. 1977 The Thematic Approach to Moche Iconography. In Pre-Columbian Art History: Selected Readings , Alana Cordy-Collins and Jean Stern, general editors. Pp. 407-420. Palo Alto: Peek Publications. 1978 Moche Art of Peru: Pre-Columbian Symbolic Communication . Los Angeles: Museum of Cultural History. University of California, Los Angeles. 1997 “Deer Hunting and Combat: Parall el Activities in the Moche World.” In, The Spirit of Ancient Peru: Tr easures from the Museo Arqueolgico Rafael Larco Herrera , Kathleen Berrin, editor. Pp.51-59. New York and San Francisco: Thames and Hudson and The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 2004 Moche Portraits From Ancient Peru . Austin: University of Texas Press. Donnan, Christopher B. and Sharon G. Donnan 1997 Moche Textiles from Pacatnamu. In, The Pacatnamu Papers, Vol. 2: The Moche Occupation . Christopher B. Donnan and Guillermo A. Cock, editors. Pp. 215-242. Los Angeles: Fowl er Museum of Cultural History, University of California, Los Angeles. Donnan, Christopher, B. and Carol J. Mackey 1978 Ancient Burial Patterns of the Moche Valley, Peru . University of Texas Press, Austin.


68 Donnan, Christopher B. and Donna McClelland 1979 The Burial Theme in Moche Iconography. In, Studies in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology 21. Washington DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. 1999 Moche Fineline Painting: Its Evolution and Its Artists . Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, Los Angeles. Gillin, John 1947 Moche: A Peruvian Coastal Community , Publication no.3. Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Hocquenghem, Anne Marie 1987 Iconografia Mochica . Lima: Pontifica Universidad Catolica del Peru, Fondo Editorial. Hocquenghem, Anne Marie and Patricia J. Lyon 1980 A Class of Anthropomorphi c Supernatural Females in Moche Iconography. Nawpa Pacha 18:27-48. Kroeber, Alfred 1925 The Uhle Pottery Collections from Moche and the Uhle Pottery Collections from Supe . Berkeley: University of California Press. Larco Hoyle, Rafael 1948 Cronologia Arqueologica del Norte del Peru . Biblioteca del Museo de Arqueologia “Rafael Larco Herrer a.” Sociedad Geografica Americana, Editorial y Cultura: Buenos Aires. 2001[1937/1938] Los Mochicas, Tomos 1 & 2 . Lima: Museo Arqueolgico Rafael Larco Herrera. McClelland, Donna 1990 A Maritime Passage from Moche to Chimu. In, The Northern Dynasties: Kingship and Statecraft in Chimor . Michael E. Moseley and Alana CordyCollins, editors. Pp. 75-106. Washi ngton D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Millaire, Jean-Franois 2002 Moche Burial Patterns : An Investi gation into Prehispanic Social Structure. Oxford: BAR International Series; 1066, Archaeopress. Moseley, Michael E. 2001 The Incas and Their Ancestor s: The Archaeology of Peru. New York: Thames and Hudson Ltd.


69 Murra, John V. 1992 Guaman Poma’s Sorces. In, Guaman Poma de Ayala: The Colonial Art of an Andean Author , by Rolena Adorno, Tom Cummins, Teresa Gisbert, Maarten van de Guchte, Mercedes Lpez-Baralt, and John V. Murra. Pp. 60-74. New York: The Americas Society. Pillsbury, Joanne 2001 Introduction. In, Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru , Joanne Pillsbury, general editor. P p. 9-20. New Haven: Yale University Press. Quilter, Jeffrey 1990 Moche Revolt of the Objects. Latin American Antiquity 1 (1): 42-65. Washington D.C.: Society for American Archaeology. 1997 The Narrative Approach to Moche Iconography. Latin American Antiquity 8 (2): 113-133. Washington D.C. : Society for American Archaeology. Sharon, Douglas, and Christopher B. Donnan, 1974 “Shamanism in Moche Iconography,” in Ethnoarchaeology, Monograph IV. Christopher B. Donnan and C. William Clewlow, Jr. editors. Pp. 51-81. Los Angeles: Institute of Archaeo logy, University of Los Angeles. Shimada, Izumi 1994 Pampa Grande and the Mochica Culture . Austin: University of Texas Press. 2001 Late Moche Urban Craft Percu ssion: A First Approximation. In, Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru , Joanne Pillsbury, general editor. Pp. 177206. New Haven: Yale University Press. Stone-Miller, Rebecca 2002 Art of the Andes . New York: Thames and Hudson Ltd. Strong, William D. and Clifford Evans 1952 Cultural Stratigraphy in the Viru Vall ey, Northern Peru: The Formative and Florescent Epochs. Columbia Studies in Archaeology and Ethnology , vol. 4. New York: Columbia University Press.


70 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Born in Syracuse, New York, Ethan Cole grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He attended Lower Merion High School and graduated from Colgate University (Hamilton, NY) in 2003 with a degree in Nati ve American Studies. Upon receiving his Master’s degree from the University of Florid a, Ethan will enroll in the Art History Ph.D. program at the University of California, Los Angeles and hopes to spend his life researching and teaching a subject that he loves.