Postmortem/Postpartum: The Intersection Between Fertility and Mochican Ancestral Power

Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Research Paper

Degree Name



Art & Art History

First Advisor

Annabeth Headrick

Second Advisor

Scott Montgomery


Mochica Indians, Indians of South America, Antiquities, Indian art, Peru, Mochica art, Mochica pottery


With no written record, the religious beliefs of the Pre-Columbian Mochica civilization are much of a mystery. This paper attempts to decipher the position of the deceased Mochicans, also known as ancestors, within the society as a whole. It discusses the ways in which we can use multiple sources of information, archaeological, iconographic, ethnohistoric and ethnographic to learn about the various aspects of Mochican culture. Specifically I will use these methods for collecting data to examine at how the Mochica viewed their deceased and to argue that part of the Mochica religious system granted their dead a supernatural ability to control human and agricultural fertility. This power would give Mochican ancestors a significant place within the society.


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Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

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