Moche Religion

(1) Badly broken red and white stirrup pot, PM 46-77-30/5029
(2) Earthenware goblet in the form of a snarling deity head, PM 46-77-30/5061
(3) Stirrup-spout vessel in the form of a grotesque face, PM 46-77-30/4964
(4) Pottery trumpet, PM 46-77-30/5016
(5) Red pottery trumpet, PM 46-77-30/5082
(6) Pottery rattle, PM 46-77-30/5017

The Moche sacrificed war prisoners at their temples and in the mountains (1), where the blood of the sacrificial victim was symbolically tied to the descent of rainwater through mountain valleys. Distinctive goblets (2) were used for the consumption of human blood at prisoner sacrifices.

Andean religion concerns itself with dynamic flows of energy: water and blood flow through the universe, and opposing forces move each other in cosmic cycles. The grotesque head of a god expresses such concepts (3). Conch shells and clay trumpets (4, 5) used in ensembles added the power of sound to ceremonies, while a small rattle (6) may have been employed for quieter rituals, such as shamanic curing.