Ancient Forms for the Modern Eye April 2018 - Page 143



XXXVI
Moche Effigy Vessel of a Bound Bird
Early Intermediate Period – Middle Horizon: 200 – 800 A.D.
Ceramic: Orangeware with cream paint
Overall: 9 1/2 x 5 1/4 x 6 3/4 in. (24.1 x 13.3 x 17.1 cm)
The Andean condor is readily recognizable here by its head crest and short,
pointed beak. It appears to have been captured in a net on this vessel. The
largest bird in the Andes, the condor must have been featured the mythology
and religion of many ancient societies. Certainly the ability to capture such
a large bird required skill and determination. The Andean condor has one
of the largest wing spans and wing surface areas of any bird on Earth,
weighs 25-30 pounds and prefers to stay at high altitudes. The Moche
were unique among Andean cultures in their ability to realistically portray
the world around them. Although their subject matter can be esoteric,
including anthropomorphic demon creatures and deities, there was clearly a
genre of realistic representations of animals, fish, birds and plant forms, as
well as scenes of daily life.
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