Los Moches: the thriving culture of pre-Columbian Peru

Los Moches: the thriving culture of pre-Columbian Peru

The Moche people was, without a doubt, the most prosperous pre-Columbian society that it has stepped on the Peruvian territory, with a degree of development that not even the Incas, more than five centuries later, could match.

Was a warlike people, cruel, bloodthirsty, terrifying ... but at the same time monumental and endowed with an exquisite taste for crafts, goldsmithing and astrology. It is perhaps this duality of such marked contrasts that has made them a great milestone in modern archeology.

Los Moches: a town linked to the cosmos

Indeed, Moche culture was always linked to celestial patterns and designs. Perhaps it is thought that practically all the pre-Columbian peoples have a common denominator in this, but in the case of the Moche culture, this union with the stars is more intense if possible.

It is not difficult to understand this fondness for astrology, since their society depended on natural cycles almost entirely. The tides, the dry seasons, the torrential rains, the calendar phases, were phenomena on which all agricultural production depended.

Therefore, the subsistence of their society depended in the first instance on what happened up there and on the favor that the gods offered them.

Therefore, in addition to a complete study of the celestial map, the Moches built their colossal pyramids, their centers of power and cult, following exactly the star maps (in the same way that centuries later the stonemasons did to erect the network of French cathedrals) and, according to some, scholars of the field of geomantic, the flow of telluric currents.

Moche: a bloody culture

Bloodshed on the occasion of offering to the gods is something that is repeated, in a curious way, in hundreds of ancient societies throughout our world, and the Moche cultureLike so many other peoples of the American continent, it would not be less.

All his works, from his buildings to his pottery and goldsmith crafts, have motifs that make clear the importance of human sacrifice in his culture.

One of the main pantheon gods moche was, Ai Apaec, a being of brutal appearance, covered with arachnid tentacles or legs and with large predatory jaws that was always represented performing human sacrifices, in fact it is popularly known as "The Decapitator God”.

Again we have here the duality to which we mentioned, well Ai Apaec He was feared and adored in equal parts and although no one was safe from his wrath, to him they owed the fruits of the earth, the water that avoided droughts, the health of his people and each and every one of the victories against his enemies.

Everything at one price, because “The DecapitatorHe was a raging god who had to be appeased and pleased and the only sacrifice he accepted was that of human blood. And this is how scenes such as the one carved in the “Cao Viejo” pyramid show us, where dozens of captives, naked and tied, are led to the sacrifice area.

Consecrated craftsmen and engineers

Apart from the construction of the imposing stepped pyramids, the mochicas They developed a complex technology of irrigation canals to enhance and dose the precious gift that the rains brought them.

In addition to some knowledge of hydraulic engineering, the moches They are characterized by a more than elaborate ceramic, decorated with motifs of all kinds, from mythology and human sacrifices to erotic themes to which they gave great importance, not just for a simple source of pleasure but, surely, for the important role that reproduction has in a warlike culture with high mortality rates.

Of course, we cannot forget the great work that they have bequeathed to us as goldsmiths. All the Moche culture it is dotted with exquisite jewels and ornamental elements in copper, finely engraved, with the most varied motifs. Undoubtedly, the grave goods represent the greatest expression in this sense.

The disappearance of the Moches

As with other peoples in the broad regions of South America, the Moche people It disappeared without leaving any trace and to this day it is still not known for sure what prompted them to leave their lands.

The theories are diverse, but nothing is known for sure, only that some six centuries after his departure, a new people extended their dominion over the lands of the ancient Mochica culture, a people we know today as the Incas.

Image Ai Apaec: SL-Photography in Stock Photos / Shutterstock
Huaco Image: Durova on Wikipedia


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