The portrait vessels of the Moche allow us to look into the face of a vanished culture, to glimpse the nobles, priests and warriors who ruled ancient Peru. The embroidered cap this fellow wears indicates he is a member of the warrior class, which fulfilled a pivotal role in Moche society. His elaborate facial paint, altering light and dark, was associated with funerary ritual, suggesting the world of the living and the realm of the spirits. The individual whose powerful image we see may have placed this vessel in an ancient tomb as a token of respect. Though his world seems distant and exotic, when we look upon his proud features we understand him on a basic human level.