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Ritual Shield Recovered From Moche Temple

Thursday, August 01, 2013

ancient-shield-1(Photo courtesy of Lisa Trever, University of California, Berkeley)ANCASH, PERU—A small, feathered shield estimated to be 1,300 years old was found face down on a sloped bench or altar at the Moche site of Pañamarca. Measuring about ten inches in diameter, the surface of the shield is covered with red and brown textiles and yellow macaw feathers. About a dozen of the feathers remain, but Lisa Trever of the University of California, Berkeley, thinks that it may have originally been decorated with at least 100 feathers sewn on the surface in two or more concentric circles. She and colleagues Jorge Gamboa, Ricardo Toribio, and Flannery Surette want to know if the shield, made for ritual use, is connected to two temple murals depicting a “Strombus Monster,” a beast with both feline and snail characteristics, and an iguana-like creature. “What the exact relationship is between the deposition of the shield and the adjacent pictoral narrative is an active question,” Trever said.