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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Miscellaneous : Moche Stirrup Vessel Depicting a Ritual Race
Moche Stirrup Vessel Depicting a Ritual Race - K.038
Origin: Northern Coast of Peru
Circa: 200 AD to 600 AD
Dimensions: 11.5" (29.2cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Moche
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Four runners wearing elaborate costumes are engaged in a perpetual race around the perimeter of this vase. They carry sacks of seeds, which in Moche culture were associated with augury and religious ritual. Apparently, priests to determine the outcome of important events such as war and planting would use the seeds carried by the winner of the race. Agricultural fertility certainly seems to be at issue here: the background of the vessel is covered with bean-shaped objects and plants separate the runners. Rendered in a vivid, lively style, this superb vessel offers a glimpse into the vanished world of the Mochica. - (K.038)


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