The Moche people’s utilization of intricately designed copper axe heads demonstrated advanced metalworking skills, with these artifacts holding profound cultural and symbolic significance in ceremonies and rituals. The elaborate axe head designs showcased the Moche’s artistic prowess and offered valuable insights into their social and religious beliefs.
This axe head is an extraordinarily decorated anthropomorphic blade. The artisans fashioned it from copper in the traditional Vicús style. Symbolic in material, technique, and form. The head depicts the fierce god Ai Apaec. Detail casting with shell embellishments for eyes and teeth. Heavily encrusted verdigris patina with sparkling crystals. Another feature worth noting is the visible patterns of embedded feathers captured on one side of the blades’ surface: Northeast coast, Peru ca. 400 B.C- 500 A.D.
Measures: 4.75”/12 cm in length by 2.5”/6.35 cm in height
A similar Vicús gilded mask is housed at the Museo Chileno De Arte Precolombino, No. MCHAP 0162
Other similar examples: Ref. Cobre Del Antiguo Peru, plates 151-154.
Ai Apaec, the Decapitator God in Moche mythology, held a dual role encompassing creation and destruction. This fiery deity was integral to agricultural fertility, ensuring prosperous harvests. The Moche people performed rituals, including human sacrifices, to appease Ai Apaec and navigate the delicate balance between seeking favor and averting potential chaos. Explore the intricate religious beliefs and practices surrounding this enigmatic Moche deity.
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