The art of Moche Pottery

Essay by druggieCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 1997

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Pottery, not the first thing you think about when you want to jot something down. When one goes to write something, whether be it an idea or to record the daily events, one just needs to pick up a pen and write. However to the Mochica people, pottery is just that, both a writing utensil and a medium. Unlike our system of writing where we use symbols to form a meaning, the Mochica did not develop a writing system. "The closest the Mochica may have come to developing such a system were inscriptions painted on lima beans, believed by Rafael Larco Hoyle to have been a type of code or primitive scrip that permitted couriers to carry messages among tribal leaders" (Kirkpatrick 1992). Fortunately for us, the Mochica vividly captured their lives into the pottery that they made.

The coast of Peru is one of the driest deserts in the world (von Hagen 1964).

A narrow strip of sand lies between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains (von Hagen 1964). The terrain between the coast and the mountain top is only a few miles (von Hagen 1964). Rain along the coast is rare, although every seven to twenty-five years there may be a flood caused by a shifting of the track of the Humboldt Current (von Hagen 1964). In spots, the coastal desert is crossed by rivers coming down from the mountains (Gillin 1947). Here water permits irrigation and cultivation. Since ancient times, these river valleys have been populated by successive group of people. The Mochica civilization came toward the middle of the whole development. The Mochica civilization first flourished in northern coastal Peru around the year 200 B.C. (Fagan 1995).

If one mentions pre-Columbian Peru, the most often response were the Inca. But the Inca were latecomers of...