The Moche of Peru are one of my favorite ancient cultures simply because they were highly sophisticated for ancient times.They existed between 100-900 AD in the northern Peruvian coastal valleys.These guys would build adobe temples over 10 stories high.They were known for their exceptional metallurgy,and beautiful art that depicted warrior narratives.They built mounds similar to that of Cahokia, but were more pyramidal in scope.
Their art eventually took over as an efficacious religion that spawned a sort of glorification of animal deities and ritual combat.They had city states that most likely experienced many bloody engagements as well.These dudes drank out of human skulls.These guys were like the Persians in the movie 300 when they would go from gorge to gorge, invading by sea.They made exquisite art and pottery with tons of detail comparable to that of ancient Greece ,which told stories of daily life and even promoted religious propaganda.They also made these ceramic head drinking vessels that were quite popular during their time.Each one was uniquely designed specifically for members of their society using a clay bust of their faces.There have been hundreds if not thousands of these vessels found.What cultural traits cause civilizations like the Moche to express themselves in such a way?
The ritual burials called the Lords of Sipan that were found by Walter Alva were decorated with gold, armor, and ceramics.They used copper and gold as a medium to create masks for the deceased.In these tombs the Lords or priests were surrounded by body parts from sacrificial victims.They also practiced ritual blood-letting that was most likely done to appease the Decapitator God ,or they risked a bad season of crops. During these ritual sacrifices, the chosen or the Priest would drink the blood of an enemy captured during a ritual battle.
Gruesome and ruthless is my choice of words for this barbaric and technologically advanced civilization that eventually meet their demise from El Niño. A storm system that is still around today wreaked havoc on these people.It is thought that the drama that came with El Niño, led to an economic and religious collapse of their society.Severe weather beat them down so badly that they lost their faith in their gods, which led to insubordination within city-states and an implosion of society.
Jones, D.(2012). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Inca Empire. Anness Publishing Ltd.
Moseley, M.(1992). The Incas and Their Ancestors.Thames and Hudson Ltd , London.