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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Pre-Columbian Masterpieces : Moche Squatting Corpse Stirrup Vessel
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Moche Squatting Corpse Stirrup Vessel - PF.1860
Origin: Northern Coast of Peru
Circa: 200 AD to 600 AD
Dimensions: 8" (20.3cm) high
Catalogue: V7
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: UAE
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The greater part of Mochica art that survives, was intended for burial in tombs. Much of this art celebrates the world of the living, the abundance of nature and the pleasures of the senses. Existing side by side with this tradition, however, is a darker, more moralistic art concerned with death and punishment. This remarkable vessel depicts a squatting corpse, its face a grinning skull, its cloaked body only just beginning to decompose. Surviving mummy burials from various parts of Ancient America, suggest this may have been a common way of positioning the dead. The hollow eye sockets stare out as if to tell us "I too once laughed and loved and thought nothing of death." Such a 'Memento Mori,' transcends the boundaries of Mochica culture; it is a symbol of powerful universal meaning. - (PF.1860)


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