Pub. Date:
University of Texas Press
Moche Portraits from Ancient Peru

Moche Portraits from Ancient Peru

by Christopher Donnan


Current price is , Original price is $39.95. You

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Please check back later for updated availability.

This item is available online through Marketplace sellers.


'Moche portraits are among the most varied, objective and confident portraits produced by any civilization of the ancient world.' Unusually, the portraits take the form of three-dimensional ceramic vessels, moulded into the form of human heads or complete bodies. These extraordinary vessels are normally found in graves but they were created for a practical, not spiritual purpose, possibly for containing a fermented liquid. This richly illustrated volume surveys the range of portraits made, many of which are presented in full colour photographs. Donnan discusses how they were made, their types of spout, their firing and, especially, what they reveal about the Moche, a people that lived in the arid north of Peru 1,500 years ago. Donnan examines the jewellery and ornaments worn by the heads and bodies, their headdresses, their similarities with other portraits, their realism or otherwise and the types of people depicted. These include warriors and captives, youths and the elderly. Most are male. Their symbolic role and particularly their place in Moche warrior society is also discussed. This book illustrates over 300 examples from collections all over the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780292716223
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 01/15/2003
Series: Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 202
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 11.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Christopher B. Donnan is Professor of Anthropology at UCLA. Considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Moche, he is the author of many books, including Moche Fineline Painting: Its Evolution and Its Artists, Royal Tombs of Sipán, Ceramics of Ancient Perú, and Moche Art of Peru: Pre-Columbian Symbolic Communication.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Evolution and Distribution of Portraits
  • Chapter 3: How Portraits Were Made
  • Chapter 4: Headdresses
  • Chapter 5: Ornamentation
  • Chapter 6: Multiple Portraits of Individuals
  • Chapter 7: Warriors and Captives
  • Chapter 8: Individuals Portrayed at Different Ages
  • Chapter 9: Observations and Conclusions
  • Notes
  • References Cited
  • Sources of Illustrations
  • Index

What People are Saying About This

Steve Bourget

"By presenting the Moche artists and the people who have been portrayed by them, Donnan brings us to a level of understanding and proximity, so to speak, that I would have never considered possible just a few years ago. . . . Believe me, this book is going to be a bestseller."

Craig Morris

"This book is as close as we can ever come to seeing the Moche people—and to having a basis for understanding the society that produced such remarkable works of art."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews