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Artist/Maker: Moche (North Coast, Peru)

Date: 100-800
Medium: pottery and slip paint
Overall: 7 x 4 1/2 x 5 3/4 in. (17.8 x 11.4 x 14.6 cm)
Classification: Containers
Credit Line: Gift of The S. Hosmer Compton Family Collection
Object number: 87.0164
DescriptionIn addition to their military role, warriors played a vital role in the ceremonial life of the Moche people. Their status seems to have been similar to that of medieval knights of Europe. Uniforms bore distinctive heraldic devices indicating a warrior's order and rank. The conical hat of the Moche warrior was made of hardened leather, wood or copper and was fashioned with protective ear flaps. The helmets were often embellished with metal discs and feathers. Armed for battle this warrior figure bears club and shield. Metal bands worn around the waist and wrists provided additional protection. Two principal orders of Moche warriors were associated with the fox and hawk which are frequently depicted in anthropomorphic form. Religious and political power were probably merged, with elite warriors functioning as priests and god-kings. During times of battle, defeated warriors were stripped of their weapons and clothing, were bound, and publicly paraded as war trophies. (Courtesy E. Michael Whittington) (Updated MJ 10/21/02)
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