Photograph of a Moche (Mochica) hammered gold and copper alloy metalwork decoration of a decapitator god
Photograph of a Moche (Mochica) hammered gold and copper alloy metalwork decoration of a decapitator god. The mystic and powerful deity holds a tumi knife in right hand and the head of a victim prisoner of decapitation in the left hand. Moche artists frequently depicted gruesome scenes of murder, genocide, and torture, both real and supernatural. . Moche metalworkers fabricated elaborate objects from gold, silver, and copper. The copper was originally gilded with an electrochemical process but tarnishes to a green color. The Moche culture began about 200 B.C., lasting to about 1000 A.C. inhabiting the North Coast of Peru. The Moche artists produced the only realistic or naturalistic fine art sculpture visual art in pre-Hispanic or pre-Columbian South America. This image shows metalwork that was found at the Loma Negra site in the Piura Valley and now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photography in 1989 by Nathan Benn with kind permission from the Met Museum.