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The Union of the Feline, Bird and Serpent

Room 2, Vitrine 10

Sculptural Viru Pitcher
Peruvian Northern Coast
Formative Epoch (1250 BC – 1 AD)

Pre-Columbian art features a being which is the result of a combination of the physical and supernatural characteristics of the feline, the serpent and the bird. This mythological being combines the strengths of the three worlds and is represented by multiple combinations, for example the head of a bird, paws of a feline and body of a serpent.

It is a powerful god which responds to the new problems that emerge in a more numerous society. To face more serious problems greater powers are needed, like those possessed by this new hybrid god.

Towards the end of the Formative Epoch, we can see this process in the Virú, Salinar and Vicús cultures in the north and in Paracas in the south.