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Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Moche "Monkey-Man"

A Possible Peruvian Moche "Monkey-Man" to go with the Mayan ones:

Moche stirrup-spout pot in shape of monkey with lime
in gourd for mixing with coca leaf (reproduction).

Introduction to Archaeology
Nancy White

Last updated: 01/23/2004 17:30:26

© 2003 MATRIX
Project Director: Anne Pyburn
Indiana University Bloomington

It seems this pot depicts something much more human-like than the usual "Mystery Monkeys" also depicted in ancient Peru, and this one is wrapped in a blanket and chewing cocaine out of coca leaves! The depiction is close to some of the Mayan "Monkey Men" and it could be another case of a "Wildman" being so described (The defunct term "Pithecanthropus" used for Homo erectus was another term originally used for a type of Wildman) The more modern descriptions of the type in Peru speak of it as being a "Kind of a Satyr" and the Wildman in this instance could be thought of as a more highlands type of "Maricoxi." For a comparison I found a half-faced Neanderthal reconstruction and made a fullfaced view of it (Without the hair to give a better impression of the form of the face)        Best Wishes, Dale D.


  1. BTW the creature on the pot is shown with human hands and feet

  2. Somebody just sent in a comment which said "Why can't it be an imaginary combination of human and monkey features?" Not in those words-In fact I found his tone to be offensive and so deleted his original message. But the answer is simple enough- because there are no monkeys locally that actually look anything like that!

    Best Wishes, Dale D.

  3. I think that most native American Imagery is associational based on the essence of the animal. It is quite likely that the Monkey represented a storm because it occupied a level between the earth and the sky. When monkeys are hunted they often urinate on the hunters below and this behavior may have invited the metaphor. the monkey is holding a gourd of lime and a stick used in attaching the lime from the moisture of the mouth. This was used in coca chewing and still is to this day. The gourd was, cosmologically, used as a metaphor for the earth. Thus the monkey-storm is placing moisture into the earth.


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