Top Ten Lambayeque or Sican Cultural Artifacts

Top Ten Lambayeque or Sican Cultural Artifacts

       Sican Culture (Lambayeque) is the name archaeologist Izumi Shimada, founder of the Sican Archaeological Project, gave to a culture that predated the Inca in what is now the north coast of Peru between about 750-1375 AD. Sican meansTempleof the moon. The Sican culture is also referred to as Lambayeque culture, after the name of the region in Peru. There is still controversy over whether the two are separate cultures. The Sican culture is divided into three periods based on cultural changes.

  1. Funerary Mask (10th-11th Century AD)

    Many Andean peoples placed masks as false faces on the mummy bundles of important individuals. Depending on the status and wealth of the deceased, the masks could be of wood, ceramic, or cloth; those of the most powerful were of gold and silver. This mask comes from the northern La Leche River valley, where a succession of powerful rulers amassed prodigious amounts of wealth in metal objects. Recently, archaeologists discovered a royal burial at the presumed ceremonial and funerary center of the Sicán culture, Batán Grande. The main personage’s face was covered by a sheet-gold mask similar to the present example. It was painted with bright red cinnabar and embellished with nose and ear ornaments and dangles. In some South American countries today, red is thought to have protective qualities. Perhaps the mask’s red pigment was meant to protect the deceased in the afterlife. Poorly understood features on Sicán burial masks are the skewer-like projections from the pupils of the eyes. They may symbolize a penetrating gaze. This Lambayeque funerary mask currently resides in the Metropolitan Museum of art in New York.
    Links: Top 100 Masks,
  2. Mask

    This is a Sipan mask from the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum in Lambayeque.
    Links: Top 100 Masks,
  3. Gold Cups (9th-11th Century)

    These gold cups currently reside at the Metropolitan Museum of art in New York.
    Links: Top 100 Gold ArtifactsTop Ten Chalices/Cups,
  4. Feline Faced Mask

    This mask depicts a feline face and can be found at the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum in Lambayeque.
  5. Necklace

    This is a Sipan necklace made out of Spondylus shell, which can be found at the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum, Lambayeque.
    Links: Top Ten Ancient Necklaces, Top 100 Necklaces,
  6. Tunic Fragments (800-1300 AD)

    These three substantial and colorful fragments in the Lambayeque style were all once part of a man’s tunic. The complicated imagery on the tunic is a difficult puzzle to piece together, as it contains many schematic symbols and images whose meaning is known only to the people who created it. The overall design is a series of repeated seated figures, positioned on some kind of altar or platform. The face is stylized and shown in profile with prominent eyes and teeth. The figure is wearing a classic Lambayeque style feathered crescent headdress. Each figure is bounded by posts and a combed roof, which are meant to indicate an architectural setting for the scene. These fragments measure 39.5 cm in height and can be ffound at the Textile Museum of Canada.
  7. Gold Mask

    Description: This is a gold Sican mask from the Sican Museum in Lambayeque.
  8. Pottery

  9. Vessel

  10. Two Chambered Spout and Strap Vessel (900-1250 AD)

    This two-chambered spout and strap vessel created by the Lambayeque culture of the north coast of Peru combines symbolic images from the highlands and from the coast in depicting a llama with two attendants on one half of the vessel and a Spondylus shell on the other half. The square half of the vessel has geometric designs painted on it that are similar to wall murals at Lambayeque sites, the stylized Spondylus shell which forms the other half is press-molded to closely imitate a real shell. This vessel currently resides in the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art.
  11. Fragments of Tapestry (800-1300 AD)

    This fragment of tapestry was made by members of the Lambayeque culture of the north coast of Peru. The main figure depicted in the repeating scene is front facing and is wearing a double crescent headdress with feather details. The main figure is flanked by figures in profile wearing long draping head-cloths with tabbed fringes. The fragment is 24.1 cm in height and resides in the Textile Museum of Canada.
    Links: Top Ten Tapestries,
  12. Links: Artifacts, Top Ten South American Artifacts,,