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The Face of a Mythological Hero

Along the north coast of Peru, members of the Moche culture (A.D. 200 to 850) performed funeral rituals to help their deceased leaders on their journey to the underworld. Although this funerary mask on display at the Museo Larco in Lima, Peru, was made of copper, over time it has corroded, thus giving it its current green patina. The earrings on the mask were symbols of the elite class, and the fangs represent the feline, which was a common motif found in many depictions of deities in ancient Peru. This mask represents the face of the Moche mythological hero Ai Apaec, and its use was a way of conveying that the deceased was an important individual.

Text Source: National Geographic with the support of Museo Larco in Lima, Peru
Video by:
  • National Geographic with the support of Museo Larco in Lima, Peru