Through the ages, certain civilizations have
created a style of portraiture that captures not
just the image of a people but their spirit as well.
The Fayoum mummy portraits of Egypt, or the
marble busts of Republican Rome, tell us not
only what people looked like, but also what they
thought of themselves. In the New World,
perhaps the greatest portraits are those of the
Moche nobility, modeled in clay. These works
show us a proud, aristocratic people, very
confident of their place in the world. This superb
head depicts a man at the height of his vigor,
wearing a helmet often associated with the
warrior class. Looking upon his haughty
features, we do not doubt his important place in
a vanished world.