Showing posts from August, 2006

The Decapitator

The Moche civilisation were an advanced agricultural and deeply superstitious people living on the northern coast of Peru, some 500 kilometres north of the capital, Lima. Only in the last decade are scientists discovering and analysing the recent haul of artefacts unearthed from unlooted tombs found near the city of Trujillo. Previous finds had been heavily vandalised and plundered since the demise of the Moche empire around 800 AD. It was known from their enormous mud brick pyramids, that the Moche were advanced in ceramics and metallurgy, producing many beautifully ornate items that discoverers have labelled "museum quality". The motifs found have raised more questions than answers surrounding the Moche's obviously complex beliefs and rituals. One of the most puzzling icons of the Moche is a recurring symbol featuring an intensely grotesque face represented in mosaics, friezes and ceramics. This fearsome character has become known as the "decapitator" af