Artist: Unknown (Peruvian)
Title: Human Effigy Vessel, 100-800
8 in. (20.3 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Jefferson Patterson from the estate of Julia Shaw Carnell, Washington, D.C.
Around 100 A.D. the Moche civilization developed along the coast of Peru. They built large pyramids, but these mud structures eroded over time. The Moche did not use a written language, so most of what we know about them comes from the things they left behind. Archaeologists have found clay pots with scenes of hunting, fishing, war, and ceremonies. The Moche also created clay sculptures of people, plants, and animals, then decorated them with fine lines and details. This terracotta vessel is an effigy, or a carved likeness of a person. From this pot and others like it we can learn about Moche clothing, ceremonies, and technology.