A team of Peruvian archaeologists recently unearthed ruins belonging to the Moche civilization. The team discovered two rooms that would have been used by the Moche elite. The walls of the rooms were brightly painted with marine scenes.
The murals found in the complex differ from typical Moche artwork. The images are more naturalistic, depicting real-life animals and situations, in contrast to the representations of divinities, supernatural beings and the symbolic, geometric designs normally found on Moche art.
An aerial view of the archaeological site shows how the two rooms were adjoined by a porch. A staircase leads up to the banquet hall. Next door was the meeting room, where a circular podium sits in front of the doorway, from which a Moche leader may have made speeches.
Inside the banquet hall there were two thrones, of different height, facing each other. The higher one, with seven steps, would have been where the lord or ruler was likely to sit. This set-up imitates a classic scene found in Moche iconography, where the figure sitting on the lower throne offers an impressive mound of food to the powerful leader.
One of the longest murals discovered (10m long) depicts a fishing boat. The upper part of the mural is unfinished. The archaeologists believe it was partially disassembled and then intentionally covered around the 5th century, when the structure was suddenly and mysteriously abandoned.
The Moche are renowned for their erotic pottery. They sculpted tens of thousands of ceramics, an estimated 100,000 of which remain. Of those, hundreds depict sexual acts, between deities, humans and animals.
This piece of pottery, displayed at the Lord of Sipan Royal Tomb Museum, depicts a woman giving birth with the help of two other people. It is thought to have been made for educational purposes.
Most Moche vessels were decorated with symbolic shapes and patterns, painted red and black on a cream background.
A pumpkin-looking Mochica pottery piece is displayed at the Lord of Sipan Royal Tomb Museum in Lambayeque. The Moche were skilled farmers, managing to produce corn, beans, chili peppers, potatoes and squash in desert conditions, with the help of highly advanced irrigation canals.