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Sex, Death, and Sacrifice in Moche Religion and Visual Culture


Sex, Death, and Sacrifice in Moche Religion and Visual Culture Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Moche people who inhabited the north coast of Peru between approximately 100 and 800 AD were perhaps the first ancient Andean society to attain state-level social complexity. Although they had no written language, the Moche created the most elaborate system of iconographic representation of any ancient Peruvian culture. Amazingly realistic figures of humans, animals, and beings with supernatural attributes adorn Moche pottery, metal and wooden objects, textiles, and murals. These actors, which may have represented both living individuals and mythological beings, appear in scenes depicting ritual warfare, human sacrifice, the partaking of human blood, funerary rites, and explicit sexual activities. In this pathfinding book, Steve Bourget raises the analysis of Moche iconography to a new level through an in-depth study of visual representations of rituals involving sex, death, and sacrifice. He begins by drawing connections between the scenes and individuals depicted on Moche pottery and other objects and the archaeological remains of human sacrifice and burial rituals. He then builds a convincing case for Moche iconography recording both actual ritual activities and Moche religious beliefs regarding the worlds of the living, the dead, and the afterlife. Offering a pioneering interpretation of the Moche worldview, Bourget argues that the use of symbolic dualities linking life and death, humans and beings with supernatural attributes, and fertility and social reproduction allowed the Moche to create a complex system of reciprocity between the world of the living and the afterworld. He concludes with an innovative model of how Moche cosmological beliefs played out in the realms of rulership and political authority.

Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments Chapter 1: More Questions than Answers Moche Visual Culture Subjects, Themes, and Narratives Iconography, Archaeology, and Identity Presentation Theme Wrinkle Face and Iguana Ritual Runners Ceremonial Badminton Coca-Taking Ceremony Prisoners and Portrait-Head Vessels Copulation with Wrinkle Face Summary Context and Methodology A Dualist System A Tripartite Organization? Chapter 2: Eros Previous Contributions Rafael Larco Hoyle Anne Marie Hocquenghem Susan Bergh Diachronic versus Synchrony Sodomy Ritual Paraphernalia Presence of Children in Scenes of Sodomy Sodomy and Individual with Fangs Masturbation Fellatio Sexual Depictions on Libation Vases Skeletal Beings and Erections Anthropomorphic Genitals Women and Blood Inverted Fertilities Vaginal Copulation Copulation between Animals Copulation between Animals and Women Copulation between Wrinkle Face and Women Eventual Sacrificial Victims Sacrificial Victims and Vaginal Copulation Summary Chapter 3: Eros and Thanatos Chapter 4: Thanatos Organization of the Narrative The Awakening The Exit The Reinstatement Sacrifice and Capture Strombus Seashells Archaeological Evidence of an Afterworld Summary Chapter 5: Dualities, Liminalities, and Rulership Dualities Sip

Product Details

University of Texas Press
Bourget, Steve
Publication Date:

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Archaeology » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Latin America
Religion » World Religions » Sexuality and Gender Studies

Sex, Death, and Sacrifice in Moche Religion and Visual Culture
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Product details 258 pages University of Texas Press - English 9780292783188 Reviews:
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