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Gold Mochica Head Adornment

Room 11, Vitrine 150

Northern coast of Peru
Florescent Epoch (1 AD – 800 AD)
ML100769, ML100768, ML100770

Leaders were crowned with decoration symbolizing their ability to act as intermediaries between different worlds, as in the case of this adornment, which depicts a powerful mythological being with feline, fox, bird, and serpent features.

  • This forehead adornment is decorated with a human face crowned with a tumi (symbol of the sun), flanked by two hybrid creatures with feline fangs, fox’s ears, bird of prey claws and the body of a serpent.
  • This type of forehead adornment was used to crown individuals who exercised supreme political and religious power; individuals who were able to act as intermediaries between the earthly world and the world of the gods, as well as the world of the dead.
  • Archaeological work has shown that these adornments are commonly found among the grave goods of important leaders on Peru’s northern coast.