X88.807 Moche vessel

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Peru, north coast
100-800 C.E.
H: 24.5 cm (9.6 in), W: 14.5 cm (5.7 in), D: 21 cm (8.26 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert L. Lucas, Jr. X88.807


This ceramic figure, part bird and part human, wears paraphernalia associated with the Bird Priest, a commonly depicted figure in Moche art. Bird Priests often appear as anthropomorphized owls, such as this figure with the characteristic beak and sunken eyes. When in human form, Bird Priests don a headdress in the form of an owl with outstretched wings, similar to that seen here. The miniature figure on the scepter wears the distinctive headdress, and the presence of the goblet in the figure’s right hand suggest that it may also represent a Moche Bird Priest.

Source: Viriginia Fields (2005)