Feline Friday : Jaguar vessel

Feline Friday : Jaguar vessel

Stirrup Spout Jaguar Vessel
Stirrup Spout Jaguar Vessel, Moche Culture 200CE-400CE, North Coast Peru

In ancient Peru, all the cultures revered some kind of cat, often the jaguar.  The National Gallery of Australia wrote, “Unlike other parts of Peru, where jaguars abounded, the Moche lived in a region where there were smaller felines. While they sometimes portrayed jaguar cubs, they were more likely to depict ocelots, margays, Pampas cats or jaguarondis. Pumas also feature in the art of highland cultures. The creatures all display the same hunting prowess, poise, stealth and aggression that appealed to warrior cultures such as the Moche.”

The Moche culture used molds to create their ceramics. The stirrup spout vessel was a common shape. The body would be cast by the mold but “the stirrup spout was built by hand and welded to the vessel with slip.”*  Ceramics were used extensively in their homes as well as for funerary purposes.
* Stirrup spout vessel, Wikipedia

In 2005, a discovered tattooed female mummy is believed to be a warrior queen by archaeologists as she was buried with massive ceremonial war clubs.  The 1988 discovering of Lord Sipan’s tomb originally had scholars initially assuming the Moche were ruled by men. Since 1991 through 2013, archaeologists realized that the society was ruled by priestess-queens at the site of San José de Moro in northern Peru with the uncovering of 8th elite female burial site. A 9th burial site found in 2009 proved to be a male priest so both genders ruled San Jose de Moro.   The Moche culture was not a centralized society but rather affiliated communities with some things in common like religion but also doing things their own way in individual communities.  While the agricultural Moche society used widespread irrigation and had rich art forms, they were not peaceful. They sacrificed humans, usually defeated warriors from surrounding areas, bleeding them on altars.  The Moche culture had disappeared by the time the Spanish colonization began and left behind no writings so it is only in recent times that we are beginning to learn anything about them.

Ban The Odor, Not The Pet.


Tucson Museum of Art
Palice Gallery of Latin American Art, 2nd floor
140 N. Main Ave.
Tucson, Az

Moche Decorated Ceramics
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Moche culture, an introduction
by Dr. Sarahh Scher.
Art of the Americas to World War I S. America before European colonization
Khan Academy

Moche culture
North Coast 100-800AD
Gold and the Incas : Lost Worlds of Peru
National Gallery of Australia

Tomb of a Powerful Moche Priestess-Queen Found in Peru
By A. R. Williams, August 13, 2013
National Geographic

Stirrup spout vessel

Moche culture

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15 Replies to “Feline Friday : Jaguar vessel”

  1. hello cactus catz its dennis the vizsla dog hay that is a gud likeness of a krowtching kitty!!! it kind of reeminds me of charlee and chaplin having a stretch!!! hmm duz that meen they ar jagwars??? ok bye

    1. Thank you Dennis for visiting! I think it’s a good likeness of a crouching kitty too! Did you show it to Charlee and Chaplin? Maybe it’s a long lost relative. Well, maybe not since it’s a jaguar kitty.

  2. Priestess Queens is a term I’d like to hear more often. Very cool history. I can see why ancient cultures were enthralled by cats of all sizes.

    1. Glad, you enjoyed it. I agree it the history is cool. I had never heard of it before I decided to do a little research about jaguar vessels and the Moche culture after I decided to blog the image. I’d only heard of the Aztec, Mayan and Olmecs from that region. I thought it was cool too that the society seemed to be ruled by Priestess Queens or Priest Kings depending on the place and time. I wonder how they chose their leaders. Yeah, it’s also cool they are just as fascinated by cats as us! Of course, their cats were bigger, lol. I wonder if they had domesticated cats back then among the Moches.

    1. It is! People have loved cats for ages (big cats too)

      Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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