The Moche culture is also referred to as Mochica culture. Their civilization is present in the Northern Coast. This region is the present day Peru. The civilization was dominant in from the beginning of the 1st century up to the onset of the 8th century. This was the early intermediate period which ran from 400 years before Christ to 600 years before Christ. The Moche civilization was characterized by artistic work. The name is derived from an ancient site in the region which is the capital city of the people of Moche.
Their settlements stretched along the coast of the Northern side of present day Peru. The settlements extended from the valley river of Lambayeque in the south to the river valley of Nepena. At the beginning of the 1980s, the remaining dominant cultures were those of the traditional Moche near the river valley in Trujillo. There are two gigantic structures still assert the dominance of the culture. These structures are the Huaca de la Luna and the Huaca Del Sol.
Analysis of the Mejia Painting
The Mejia painting is part of the ceramics advanced buy the Moche at the end of the fourth phase and the fifth phase of their iconography. These paintings exhibit a desperate mood within the Moche people. The painting shows the p-prevailing confusion in the themes adhered to by the people.
The painting’s animated objects include a bag, foreign maces of stars, odd Coca garments which are complex and a priest (Donnan 2). In addition, they have goblets, bowls and a sacrificial face pointing to a smiling face of the sun or a star. Some of these objects are evident in the Huaca de la Luna. The objects depicted in the Mejia painting are an attempt by the Mejia to return to an early form of art. This version of art is called the Decapitator.
The Decapitator is an early form of art linked to the original or the earliest form of Mejia culture. It is closely related to other early forms and like the Spider God, X Sacrificer and Snake-belt God. In spite of the attempt in the Mejia painting to express the original forms of art, there were many changes that could be pointed out in it.
The attempt to return to the original forms shows the splits and subsequent groupings that ensued within the Moche culture. As earlier stated, the mood of the Moche culture was desperate. They wanted to return to the original culture. This explains why the painting attempted to pick out objects that had been depicted in their prior cultural practices.
There was internal instability which was symbolized by a sacrificial knife. The knife seems to have cut across the ancient Moche culture allowing some erosion and external influence from other cultures. The eroded culture led to a change in the meaning of many works that the Moche had developed.
As the Fourth phase disappeared, the Moche culture was gripped with horror. The Mejia painting includes the symbol of a priest to address the fear that has engulfed the society. A priest is meant to provide a source of consolation to the Moche people in the same way that they do meet the spiritual needs of their congregation. This symbolism means that the Moche is still together in as a society in terms of their spirit.
There is little proof to show that elite individualism existed in the Moche culture. There were many themes that were added to the old Moche ones. In fact, some old themes were completely dropped in favour of the new ones. In the Mejia painting, there are new garments that have been added to those being used by the Moche. This shows that there is a section of the Moche community that has ditched its traditional garments in favour of the new foreign governments.
In addition, the painting contains the complex Coca garments which are foreign to the Moche. The fact that this community accepts Coca garments to be complex shows that the Moche has accepted certain practices which they do not understand. The traditional ones have been diluted by foreign influence. However, the Moche still has hope. The Mejia painting has a smiling face in the shape of the sun which shows that they still hold on to retaining their native attributes (Sayre 3).
Lastly, the painting has a bowl and a goblet which symbolize their unity. Bowls are traditionally used for serving food. Eating is associated with interaction. The bowl in the painting shows that the native Mache still want to interact with each other which shows their desire to maintain and retain their original culture.
A deep analysis of the Mejia painting indicates two incidences. The first incidence is the desire of the Moche society to go back to its original traditional culture. This is because their culture has been eroded by the intrusion of foreign practices. The second incidence is the dire attempt by the Moche to incorporate their original work of art in their latest editions. This is an attempt to remind the present Moche society of its origin.
Donnan, Christopher B. Moche Portraits from Ancient Peru. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004. Print.
Sayre, Henry M. Cave Paintings to Picasso: The Inside Scoop on 50 Art Masterpieces. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2004. Print.