9 | 12

Celebratory Sacrifices

Both the Wari and the Tiwanaku (A.D. 400-1100) revered the staff god as a powerful deity thought to control lightning, rain, and crops. In addition to religious deities, the Tiwanaku shared sacrificial rituals with the Wari. Both the Wari and Tiwanaku were aggressive and celebrated their victories by sacrificing captives. Dismembered remains have been found around the Akapana temple of the Tiwanaku. Some of these remains may have been those of their enemies, while others were likely warriors captured in battles. Like the Wari, the Tiwanaku would depict these scenes on their pottery. They decorated their ceramics with images of puma-masked warriors holding severed heads in their hands or wearing belts of trophy heads, their tongues out and eyes rolled back.

Text Source: Morell, Virginia, and Kenneth Garrett. "Empires Across the Andes." National Geographic Magazine June 2002: 106+. National Geographic Virtual Library.
Photograph by:
  • Alex Saberi/National Geographic Creative