Title: Portrait Head Bottle

Date: 100 BC – AD 700
Culture: Moche (Peru)
Material: Painted earthenware
Size: 11” H x 7” W x 7” Diam.
Credit: Gift of Quintus H. and Mary H. Herron
On View: Yes

The Moche Empire emerged on the north coast of Peru as the influence of the Cupisnique/Chavin culture traditions began to fade. The agriculturally based Moche civilization was extraordinarily sophisticated and was led by a ruling elite and warrior class. 

Moche art included lavish burial goods made from gold, silver, and a variety of precious stones and shells. Figurative pottery like this bottle were also commonplace. These vessels incorporated a variety of subject matter ranging from plants, animals, to landscapes and people. 

This vessel represents a warrior, as evidenced by the helmet and chin strap. Many of these vessels were used as burial offerings. As such, they may have been intended to symbolically guard and protect their lord in the afterlife.