Sex, death and sacrifice

Sex, death and sacrifice in Moche religion

The Mochica civilization (1st-8th century) is ranked, along with the Inca empire, among the greatest indigenous cultures of the Peruvian Andes. Bearing testimonial to the imposing funeral sites of the "Lord of Sipan" exhumed in 1987, the immense pyramid shaped ceremonial sites (the huacas) adorned with wall paintings in a less monumental tone, the ceramic productions whose technical virtuosity, abundance, realism and iconography have not ceased to astonish the one who contemplates them.

A lions’ share of these represents sacrificial acts but predominantly of a sexual nature between animals and / or anthropomorphous figures, a unique sexual imagery in Precolumbian art. Steve Bourget has applied himself to deciphering this out-of-the-ordinary iconography, a vector of a complex ideology linked to the organization of the cosmos and based on two major forms of sexuality: one involving non-procreative sexual acts, most often between a human being and a dead being, and the other one involving procreative copulation between animals, or between a god and a woman.

One of the most unexpected voyages through a visual range whose content is, paradoxically, exclusively religious in nature.

The authors

Steve Bourget, curator of the exhibition and associate professor in the Art and Art History Department at the University of Texas, Austin, and Anne-Christine Taylor research director at the CNRS, director of the research and education department at the musée du quai Branly.


104 pages

100 illustrations

18,5 x 26,5 cm


18 €

EAN : 9782 757 20339 2

Coedition musée du quai Branly – Somogy éditions d’art

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