Top Ten Moche Artifacts

Top Ten Moche Artifacts

       Moche was located on the north coast of Peru. Its pyramids, Huaca del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun) and Huaca de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon), were the leading ceremonial and political centers for the Moche realm in 450 AD. The Pyramid of the Sun is one of the largest structures in the Americas, rising to 40 m above the valley floor and built with millions of adobe bricks. Known as the first identifiable state of the Andes, the Moche united many coastal groups, built and controlled extensive irrigation networks, and produced thousands of ceramic vessels. They used molds to make vessels and exported them throughout their territory. Moche art is expressive; every significant animal and plant in the region has been depicted by a Moche artist. The artwork illustrates many activities such as royal burial, hunting and warfare. Moche art also includes personal portraits of actual individuals. These portrait heads were realistic portrayals of nobles and leaders. This suggests that the Moche were interested in their leaders as individuals, not only as manifestations of a royal office, but as real people.

  1. Effigy Figurine

    Links: Top 100 Gold Artifacts,
  2. Mochica Gold Figure with Sacrificial Knife and Head

    This is a gold Mochica figure with sacrificial knife and head from the Gold Museum of Peru in Lima.
    Links: Top Ten Knives/Daggers,
  3. Sea God Headdress (700 AD)

    This Moche sea god headdress dates to 700 AD.
    Links: Top 100 Masks, Top 100 Gold Artifacts,
  4. Royal Tomb of El Señor de Sipán

    This tomb, known as El Señor de Sipán, can be viewed at the Royal Tombs of Sipán museum in Lambayeque, Peru.
    Links: Top Ten Tombs,
  5. Nariguera Depicting the Decapitator

    This Moche Nariguera depicts the Decapitator (Ayapec, Ai Apaec ), and was crafted out of gold with turquoise and chrysocolla inlays. It currently resides in the Museo de Oro in Lima, Peru.
  6. Gold Fan Headdress

    Links: Top Ten Headdresses, Top 100 Gold Artifacts,
  7. Anthropomorphic Gold, Copper and Polished Stone figure

    This anthropomorphic gold, copper and polished stone figure…
  8. Effigy figure from Sipan

  9. Fox Head Headdress (400–800 AD)

    The Moche considered the fox a lunar symbol because of its nocturnal habits and they admired the animal for its cunning and agility. This fox head was probably part of a dramatic headdress: the shell teeth and wire whiskers add realistic detail, the small disks on the ears and chin would have caught the light and tinkled when the headdress moved, and the tongue is designed so that it moves freely.
    Links: Top Ten Headdresses, Top 100 Busts,
  10. Copper Alloy Figurine

    This copper figurine can be found at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino.
    Links: (Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino),
  11. Moche Pottery

    These are Moche stirrup spout vessels which can be found at the Larco Museum Collection in Lima, Peru as well as the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.
  12. Gold Blowgun with Zoomorph Figure

    This is a gold blowgun with zoomorph figure that resides at the Museo Larco. Blowguns…
    Links: Weapons and Armor, Top Ten South American Weapons, (Museo Larco),
  13. Earflare (3rd-7th Century AD, 2nd-3rd Century AD)

    On these technically complex condor earflares, the front plates are made of sheet gold to which repoussé silver birds are attached by small tabs. The back plates and shafts are of gilded copper and also join in this manner. The ornaments were worn in the distended lobes of the ears, the long tubular shafts counterbalancing the weight of the frontals. The birds with massive talons and strong, curved beaks adorning these earflares depict Andean condors, identified by the large caruncle (fleshy protuberance) at the base of their beaks and the wattle around their necks. Impressive birds with a wing span of up to ten feet, Andean condors inhabit the high Andes mountains above 9,000 feet. They are primarily carrion eaters, but will occasionally kill for food. Condors and vultures are highly symbolic birds and are a frequent theme in Moche art. They embellish tumis, or knives used in ritual sacrifice, and are often shown pecking at human and animal heads and bodies. Because of their eating habits, they have a natural connection with predation, death, and sacrifice. The condor earflares can be found in the Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection.
  14. Bonus: Gold and Turquoise Nose Piece

    This gold and turquoise nose piece is part of a large collection of Moche jewelry that can be seen at the Museo Larco.
  15. Bonus: Gold Jewelry

    Moche jewelry is very intricate and beautiful.
  16. Bonus: Gold Funerary Mask

           This golden funerary mask was found at the pyramid of the moon site.
    Links: Top 100 Masks,
  17. Bonus: Copper and Gold Alloy Tumi Knife

           This copper and gold alloy Tumi knife is currently in a private collection.
    Links: Top Ten Knives/Daggers,
  18. Bonus: Copper Scepters

           These copper scepters, which were used for ceremonial purposes can be found at the Museo Larco.
    Links: Top Ten Scepters,
  19. Bonus: Decapitator Mural

           This Moche mural of the “Decapitator” (Ayapec, Ai Apaec) is located at Huaca de la Luna in…
  20. Bonus: Vessel Depicting Fellatio (300 AD)

           This ceramic vessel, which depicts fellatio, dates back to 300 AD and can be found at the Larco Museum Collection in Lima, Peru.
  21. Links: Artifacts, Top Ten South American Artifacts, Top Ten Peruvian Attractions,,,,