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Moche Iconography Summary

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Iconography can help further our understanding of a culture’s worldview as these images may provide information regarding ritual practices and worship that might have been conducted.Though Moche iconography does not bear any indication of daily life, it provides clues regarding Moche political history as mentioned by Benson (2001). The article by Benson explores Moche iconography and use archaeological evidence to explain certain images depicted on Moche ceramics. She argues that, “the archaeology is beginning to explain the ceramic iconography” (147).

This is being done by archaeological findings providing factual evidence of the images which appear on ceramics and art. For example, Benson mentions that “...information on the subject of human sacrifice in the Moche culture came from the study of its iconography” (157). Archaeology is beginning to explain this depiction of human sacrifice as Bourget has
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There can be archaeological evidence for certain rituals but no indication of such activities depicted throughout the iconographic images. In addition, Benson mentions that iconography can speak a “shorthand”, the ceramic images may not provide detail but rather provide minimal information. This is evidence through the ceramic images which are said to resemble actual structures, the ceramics do not show large architectural schemes, “there are no huge structures or plazas in the ceramic art” (150). Examining iconography along with archeological evidence can provide a deeper understanding of a culture’s worldview, it can indicate whether the iconographic images were actually being performed in reality. Iconography can help us understand what a certain space may have been used for and the accessibility of a certain space, whether it was used for ritual practice or only accessible to elite leaders. We can make sense of iconography by what is found in archaeological

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