Ancient Forms for the Modern Eye April 2018 - Page 103



XVI
Moche Owl Woman Stirrup Vessel
Early Intermediate Period – Middle Horizon: 200 – 900 A.D.
Ceramic: Creamware and red paint
Overall: 9 1/4 x 4 3/4 x 6 1/8 in. (23.5 x 12.1 x 15.6 cm)
This is an anthropomorphic effigy vessel of a seated, cloaked aged female
with the face of an owl. She leans forward with clasped hands and
head tilted toward the ground. Old women with owl faces are thought to
represent shamans who were like nocturnal owls and who had the ability
to fly during trances into the darkness of the otherworld. It may be that
Moche shamans thought of themselves as transforming themselves into
owls during their spiritual travels.
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