A very important, life-size Moche copper funerary mask, showing a noble face of a Moche lord or dignitary, from the North-Coast of Peru.
Size: 18 x 20,8 cm ( ca. 8 inch)
Period: 300 -500 AD
Proevnance: Mr. Razeto before 1960's, U.S.A. Florida collection 1960 - 1970's
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Hammered silver thick sheet, all executed by repousse technique, with almond-shaped eyes with brown-orange spondylus-shell inlay, pronounced nose and ears and down-turned mouth. Overall dark silver patina. Some normal losses, otherwise intact and in an excellent state of preservation for a mask of this type.
Moche masks meant to protect the deceased in the afterlife and was put into the grave on top or around the upper-part of the body.
Masks made of hammered sheet metal have been found in tombs of both men and women in the Lambayeque region, near the modern city of Chiclayo. Such masks are lacking perforations or openings that would have allowed mortals to see or breathe, and were most likely used exclusively to cover the faces of deceased individuals of high status. In one tomb from Batán Grande, a major centre of the Lambayeque culture (also known as Sicán), one mask was found over the face of a mummy, and four others were placed at the foot of the deceased. Although such masks may have only been worn by the dead, danglers attached to the mask would have conveyed a sense of movement, perhaps life, as the mummy bundle was processed to its final resting place deep within a monumental platform mound.