The Art and Archaeology of the Moche: An Ancient Andean Society of the Peruvian North Coast

The Art and Archaeology of the Moche: An Ancient Andean Society of the Peruvian North Coast

The Art and Archaeology of the Moche: An Ancient Andean Society of the Peruvian North Coast

The Art and Archaeology of the Moche: An Ancient Andean Society of the Peruvian North Coast

Synopsis

Renowned for their monumental architecture and rich visual culture, the Moche inhabited the north coast of Peru during the Early Intermediate Period (AD 100-800). Archaeological discoveries over the past century and the dissemination of Moche artifacts to museums around the world have given rise to a widespread and continually increasing fascination with this complex culture, which expressed its beliefs about the human and supernatural worlds through finely crafted ceramic and metal objects of striking realism and visual sophistication.

In this standard-setting work, an international, multidisciplinary team of scholars who are at the forefront of Moche research present a state-of-the-art overview of Moche culture. The contributors address various issues of Moche society, religion, and material culture based on multiple lines of evidence and methodologies, including iconographic studies, archaeological investigations, and forensic analyses. Some of the articles present the results of long-term studies of major issues in Moche iconography, while others focus on more specifically defined topics such as site studies, the influence of El Ni o/Southern Oscillation on Moche society, the nature of Moche warfare and sacrifice, and the role of Moche visual culture in decoding social and political frameworks.

Excerpt

Steve Bourget

In November 2003, the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin hosted the Fourth D. J. Sibley Family Conference. This three-day symposium, entitled “The Art, the Arts, and the Archaeology of the Moche: An Ancient Andean Society of the Peruvian North Coast,” brought together a number of scholars directly involved in Moche studies. in recent years, these and other specialists have made significant discoveries, carried out long-term archaeological projects, and implemented a variety of innovative techniques that have provided for a recent exponential increase in our understanding of Moche culture.

The main objective of this symposium was to discuss how the fields of archaeology and iconography have increasingly come to enrich and complement one another in Moche scholarship. a number of the presentations thus incorporated archaeological and iconographic analyses in the discussion of a wide range of subject matter. the papers further explored other pressing issues and concerns, such as Moche site chronologies, cultural identity, distribution of styles, the impact of ecology on north coast societies, and the visual expression of social change.

Fifteen papers were delivered at the meeting, and fourteen of them appear in this book. Christopher Donnan, David Scott, and Todd Bracken submitted a chapter on Moche metallurgy for publication that had not been presented at the meetings. Thus, the completed volume has fifteen chapters.

Support for the symposium and preparation of the book was provided by the Potts and Sibley Foundation, as well as by the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those who generously assisted in the organization of the symposium: Amy Bracewell, Reymundo Chapa, Kimberly Jones, Virginia Portillo, Fernando Rochaix, and Maline Werness.

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