You are here:
  1. Inicio
  2. Collections
  3. Pre-Hispanic Americas
  4. Moche prisoner vessel

Moche prisoner vessel

Pulse para ampliar

Dated: 100 - 750

Cultural Context/Style: Moche

Origin: Peru

Medium: Pigments, Clay.

Technique: Burnished, Moulded, Slip-trailing, Painted.

Dimensions: Height: 32.5 cm; Width: 18 cm; Breadth: 17.5 cm; Base width: 14 cm.

Inventory no.: 01425

Ceremonial sculptural vessel depicting a naked prisoner, adorned with face paint, with his hands tied and a rope around his neck. The end of the rope hangs down his back; it would have been used to lead the prisoner through religious spaces for sacrifice. The capture of prisoners of war was a common practice in Moche society; the victor stripped the vanquished of his helmet, weapons and clothing as a symbol of victory and domination. Most prisoners would later be sacrificed, as is depicted in scenes appearing on pottery, and as has been archaeologically documented through the discovery of graves containing several of these sacrificed individuals. Processions of naked prisoners, bound at the neck, are depicted in the large façade reliefs at the most significant pyramid ceremonial centres. In this vessel, the top of the figure’s head opens into a high cylindrical opening. This piece is primarily designed to be viewed from the front, and so particular care has been taken with the proportions and details on that side. Of particular note is the realistic face, although its size is slightly disproportionate compared to the body in order to depict specific facial features, which likely reflected the likeness of a specific individual.