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Moche!

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About This Page
Moche Overview
Moche Bibliography
Moche Terminlogy
Moche Religion
Moche Sites
Moche Facepaint
Moche Links

About this page...

This page is an attempt to put several years of serious research unto the Web, so that the knowledge I've gained, resources I've discovered, and experiences I have been through do not remain cooped up selfishly in my head. As such, it is a fairly serious page and attempts to be as scholarly as possible. Documentation is through MLA-style parenthetical documentation most of the time, simply because it is easier on a Web-Page than foot/end-notes. Furthermore, no copy-proctected photographs have been included -- hence the remarkable lack of images on these pages. Hopefully that sitaution will change, but only as the opportunity to remain legal and still do so presents itself.

The material here is not infallible by any means. All scholars are still students, and I myself am still an undregaduate student. Mistakes and misjudgements are part of the game. If you find something you'd like to point out to, let me know!.

And a word about selection. In certain places, most particularly the Moche Links page, I have had to make a lot of choices as to what to include and what to leave out. Please rest assured that this has not been done off-handedly, or with a condescending mind set. If a link or piece of informaton ahs been left out, it because (a) I judged it worthy, but not necessary; (b) I judged it to be lacking sufficient documention, etc..., for it to remain a viable piece of scholarly mateiral; or (c) I simply didn't know about it. Please feel free to recommend a link, site, or piece of information to me.

The popularity of the Sipan treasures, while certainly bringing some renewed attention to the Moche has also flooded the WWW with undocumented, often duplicative, and frequently surface-level pages dealing specifically with Sipan. In light of that, please understand that the Sipan links I have included are by no means all there is!

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Overview of the Moche Civilization...

In general, the Moche (aka the Mochica, Early Chimu, Pre-Chimu, Proto-Cimu, etc...) were a pre-Columbian culture on the Northern coast of Peru. (The normal appelation of "northwest" is somewhat redundant, since Peru does not have any coastline on its Eastern border.) That area is mostly dry desert lands, watered only by the el nino rains, but for "oasis" valleys which have developed along the several small rivers which come down from the Andes to the coast. The period in which they reached their height is roughly A.D. 100 -- 700. They probably existed a little on either end of that period, however.

Moche history is often divided into five phases, originally based almost solely upon pottery design. (See Donnan's Moche Art of Peru for perhaps the best illustration and explanation of the phase system.) The first phase has the simplest art, and it has traditionally been thought that the civilization was also relatively simple and peaceful, though Donnan's work is starting to change some of these conceptions (see Donnan's "Rethinking Moche Phase I"). This phase would logically also be the phase during which they were closest in artistic and philosophical expression to their Chavin and other antecdents. By the fifth phase, art had become far more complex with intricate patterns; the art also seems to reflect a more war-like and more ritualistic culture. It could be argued that this reflects more the development of artistic representation than of what is being represented, but the fifth phase is the last phase before the "end" of the Moche.

What happened to the Moche is very much uncertain. I will eventually devote a page here to the subject of how their demise actually took place, or at least discussions of that topic, but for now, it will suffice to say that they were succeeded by the Huari (though see Michael Czwarnos, Huari: Nature of an Empire) and later the Chimu. The Moche and the Chimu share many basic concepts and symbols, leading to the early designations of the Moche as "Early Chimu" and what not. While this relationship is almost certainly un-fair to the Moche, and unrealistic given the two hbundred or so year gap between the two cultures, the exact nature of their relationship remains an intriguing mystery.

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This page designed by Nicholas S. Corduan with coding and graphics-deisgn help from Seth A. Corduan. Many thanks also to Eric W. Wallace for invaluable JavaScript help.