Amaru Snake Drinking


Correspondences in tropical/sidereal year Sept.: Dry season equinox

Oct.: Sun crosses zenith Nov.: Pleiades culmination

Dec.: Summer solstice



Mar.: Wet season equinox

Apr.: Disappearance of Pleiades (Heliacal set of Pleiades) May

June: Heliacal rise of Pleiades, winter solstice July

Aug.: Sun at nadir number of years. If all of Mochica art is astronomical-ceremonial-mythical, it should be possible eventually to put astronomical constraints on the depictions and perhaps even obtain precise dates for some of them. Although our interpretations have sometimes been influenced by knowledge of comparative data from other cultures, we have usually tried to restrict our arguments to local data.

Unfortunately, in making her comparisons, Hoc-quenghem has treated the Inca months without allowing for the precession of the equinoxes. The rising of the Pleiades marks the beginning of the year now, as it probably did in Moche times, but this is a sidereal year. The tropical year has shifted relative to the sidereal, and so ceremonies relative to the equinoxes, solstices, zenith and nadir passages, and seasonal phenomena are no longer correlated with precisely the same stellar phenomena, although the shift has not been great since Mochica times.

Hocquenghem's interpretation is put into a particular theoretical framework of art history, largely derived from Panofsky (with some important changes), and into ideas about the relationship of forms of production, daily life, and the ceremonial calendar. The theoretical framework in which she couches her argument is not essential to her cal-endrical interpretations. In such an ambitious and remarkable analysis, one must expect that some details will be wrongly interpreted and others will be contentious. Hoc-

quenghem makes a strong case for interpreting all scenes as consistently mythic/ritual, and this interpretation can survive even substantial changes of emphasis or detail. The greatest weakness of the interpretation is the supposition that scenes of daily life that played known roles in Inca ceremonial and calendrics also played comparable roles in the Mochica ceremonial year. If Hocquenghem is even approximately correct, the congruence of myth and ritual seems extraordinarily high compared with the situation in other cultures. Table 14.5 shows a list of Hocquenghem's "grand scenes" as she places them in the calendar year together with Incan parallels and the agricultural calendar. The seasons experienced by the Moche are as follows: hot and dry (Sep.-Dec.); warm and wet (Jan.-Mar.); cold and wet (Apr.-Jun.); and cold and dry (Jul.-Aug.). We will discuss here only the most striking parallels or those in which we have specific disagreements with her interpretations.

There are some indications that occasionally pots may even depict groups of scenes that include components of several grand themes. In such cases, the components should be treated separately. We think this may be true of three Moche pots depicting the burial of a woman in a step pyramid (Figure 14.6).

Her body is being lowered by animal-headed serpent-ropes held by Thunder and Iguana. On the viewer's left, on

Figure 14.6. The burial of a woman in a step pyramid, amid possible astronomical themes: The woman may be the conceptual equivalent of Pleiades Old Woman of the Tukanoans and of Gourd Woman of the Kogi. From a Moche pot. Drawn by Sharon Hanna.

Figure 14.6. The burial of a woman in a step pyramid, amid possible astronomical themes: The woman may be the conceptual equivalent of Pleiades Old Woman of the Tukanoans and of Gourd Woman of the Kogi. From a Moche pot. Drawn by Sharon Hanna.

the top three courses of the pyramid, are human figures. On the viewer's right are animal figures, sometimes with some human traits. In the clearest of the drawings (Donnan 1978, Fig. 143), those of the bottom row have deer horns, those of the middle row have the "figure-8" markings characteristic of Moche jaguars, and those of the top row have long, fat tails that seem to have snake markings. These three kinds of animals immediately suggest the composite deer-snake-jaguar monster identified by Hocquenghem (1987, p. 213), with the Amaru associated with the world ages called Pacha-cutis and with the Moon (although the Amaru is sometimes identified with the two-headed Rainbow Snake). We shall return to the burial scene after considering other evidence of astronomical interest. On the other side of these pots is a complex scene with five major components. Four of the components are above and one below a dividing line composed of step-frets and war clubs on two of the pots, of step-frets and reversing triangles on the third pot. The components above the dividing line are

(1) a naked old woman surrounded by birds;

(2) Thunder and Iguana traveling toward the viewer's right;

(3) a vulture in a serpent frame, attacked by vultures; and

(4) a series of vultures on a rope (in one case a serpentrope) being led (perhaps as dancers or captives) by a human figure.

Below the line is the so-called "presentation theme," which shows the bringing of offerings, including strombus shells, to a god or gods seated in a temple. This scene may include two llamas. In other versions, one of the llamas is accompanied by a baby llama. The llama mother and young form the best known of Andean asterisms (a and b Cen and the accompanying dark nebula) and the serpent frame is identified below as the Ladder or Orion's Belt. There is a reasonable possibility that the naked old woman6 is the conceptual equivalent of Pleiades Old Woman of the Tukanoans and of Gourd Woman of the Kogi. We shall try to examine the most obviously astronomical themes on these three pots, first, and shall return to them after clarifying some of the components by examining related themes.

The figure of the vulture in a serpent frame attacked by other vultures closely parallels representations of a human figure in a similar serpent frame attacked by vultures. The serpent-frame with the captive on it is shown above a path marked by Greek frets leading to a temple whose top is marked by war clubs, the preferred weapon of the god Thunder. Occasionally, this is indicated by a line of step-frets on the right becoming a line of war clubs on the left. The serpent bars and heads (Figure 14.7a) correspond closely to the serpent heads, which mark the head of the figure usually accepted as the Sun god.

Donnan (1978, p. 95) points out the close correspondence of these depictions with the identification (by Calancha in the Moche area in the early colonial period) of the central star of Orion's Belt as a thief and suggests that the art may depict a thief—a secularization decidedly opposed to his general thesis. Urton (1982a, p. 240) discusses the myth more fully, noting that the thief is held by Pata (the two outer stars of the Belt) and attacked by vultures (other stars) under the direction of the new moon. Calancha's account is closely parallel to a Quechua statement (Urton 1981c/1988, p. 138, Fig. 44) that Orion's Belt with two adjacent stars formed a human figure that was also part of a ladder. Urton (1981c/1988, p. 130) says that Chakana, a Quechua name

6 This old woman is a well-known figure in Moche Iconography. One eye is more or less diamond-shaped, and the other is rounded or oval. When clearly drawn, one hand has five fingers, and the other has four.

Figure 14.7. (a) The god of Thieves attacked by vultures, possibly a depiction of a myth involving the central star of Orion's Belt as a captive. (b) A temple-topped pot with a serpent frame and another structure painted on its lower half. Drawings by Sharon Hanna.

of Orion's Belt, meant "ladder, bridge, cross-beam, lintel." Bauer and Dearborn (1995, pp. 127, 129) identify the serpent frame as Orion's Belt, which we accept. There is also a striking, although distant, parallel to the Kogi god, Dugi-navi,7 crucified on Orion's Belt for adultery. If the "new

7 Duginavi, "Elder Brother Jaguar," had sexual relations with Gourd Mother, whose animal form was the toad (see §14.2 for the description of Duginavi). There are Mochica pots showing a jaguar having sexual relationships with a toad marked with agricultural plants (Hocquenghem 1987, Fig. 15). Duginavi obtained agriculture from the Thunder People and introduced it to the Kogi. Urton (1981/1988, pp.98, 102) found several modern Quechua identifications of toad asterisms, most frequently, the Coal Sack (a dark nebula in Crux). The "Mouth of the Toad" was identified as the Hyades. Zuidema (1983, p. 253) in a discussion of the Thunder god and the goddess Mamallqui Jirca, "the plant of origin" suggests that she was identified with the asterism Toad

Moon" reference is intended to suggest that the Moon was in the vicinity of Orion's Belt, it also implies the presence of the Sun and, hence, a date close to the December (summer) solstice. At Huarochiri, it was said that "There are three stars in a straight line. They call these the Condor, the Vulture, and the Falcon." Bauer and Dearborn (1995, p. 140) suggest that these are the Belt stars of Orion but regard that as highly speculative. Given the Moche depictions of a vulture sometimes replacing the human captive on the serpent frame, and Calancha's identification of the central star of Orion's Belt as the captive, it seems very likely that the and points out Brazilian myths in which Toad is the mother of the Twins and the wife of Jaguar. In Amazonia, the Twins are normally Sun and Moon. See below for an argument that the Moche "thief" in Orion's Belt was, in fact, the Thunder Twin.

Figure 14.8. The Thunder Twin in five scenes from a pot. Drawing by Sharon Hanna following Bourget.

"three stars in a straight line" at Huarochiri are indeed the stars of Orion's Belt. Hocquenghem (1987, pp. 79-84) suggests, doubtfully, that the motif of the captive on the serpent frame may be associated with the Inca month of Uma Raymi and the zenith Sun in October. As we have pointed out, Calancha's statement implies that the mythical events shown are associated with the December solstice. Although Hoc-quenghem's specific interpretation here seems to be incorrect, the identification of an important set of motifs as specifically associated both with Orion's Belt and with a specific time of year gives strong support to her general interpretation. An important pot published by Bourget (1994, pp. 438-445) shows the Thunder Twin in five scenes, which form a circle (Figure 14.8). These may represent five successive grand scenes. Bourget argues that the scenes should be taken in order, and that they are connected with the poisonous and hallucinogenic properties of certain anthropomorphized fishes. One of these scenes shows the Thunder Twin as a captive held between two anthropomorphized birds, one apparently a vulture. The scene would be an appropriate preliminary to the depictions of the captive on the serpent frame attacked by vultures and strongly suggest that the captive is the Thunder Twin. On the opposite side of this pot is a scene that shows the Thunder Twin opposing the Lord of Fishes. See Figure 14.8. The captive on the serpent frame is also one of the motifs on a four-sided rattle (Figure 14.9), where it seems that each side may represent a different season or seasonal ritual. A prisoner in a serpent frame is also seen in Figure 14.10. What seems to be a similar rattle

Figure 14.9. A rattle with representations of four seasonal "grand scenes." Drawing by Sharon Hanna.
Figure 14.10. Gods with war clubs and the prisoner on the same serpent frame. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

is seen in a painted scene of Figure 14.13, where it is part of the ritual equipment of a Sun god or Sun-god impersonator. This seems to be a minimal representation of the theme called "the Bridge of Cords" by Hocquenghem (Figure 14.11).

Figure 14.11. The "Bridge of Cords" or "The Spider Path to Heaven": Here, ascending and descending a spider ladder path may be references to planetary motions on the ecliptic. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

Figure 14.12. The Thunder Twin (two versions) with (a) shirt marked with step-frets and (b) elaborate serpent belt. Drawings by Sharon Hanna.

That theme also contains a serpent bar frame. Hoc-quenghem believes that this theme relates to the June solstice; this is appropriate if the captive motif (on the other side of the sky) refers to December solstice imagery. Here, a path marked by a series of serpent bars becomes a ladder, on which spiders are shown. In Mesoamerica and Polynesia, there are references to heroes and supernatural figures ascending to Heaven and descending from it on a spider path, which DHK has called "the Spider Path to Heaven." Kelley (1990, pp. 148-149) has argued that such figures are identified with the planets and that the "spider-path" is defined as the range over which the Moon, in spider form, can vary from the ecliptic (see §2.3.5 for lunar node regression effects). One of the figures that is shown here is the Thunder Twin, and Hocquenghem regards his climb up the spider path as his birth or rebirth. However, the Spider Path is here coincident with a ladder that probably represents a particular asterism. If the pot described by Bourget does encompass the whole sky, there should be two ladder aster-isms: one at Orion's Belt and the other near Scorpio at the other end of the Milky Way.

The Thunder Twin (Figure 14.12), showing affinities both to Quechua Viracocha and to Quechua Thunder, is normally associated with war clubs (thunderbolts).

He often wears a stylized feline head-dress, sometimes showing figure-8 markings typical of Moche jaguars, and his shirt is often marked by a step-fret (sometimes called a Greek fret). His two-headed serpent belt is clearly the rainbow snake (cf., Carlson 1982), although Hocquenghem associates it also with the Milky Way, which modern Quechua identify as a "Night Rainbow." The Milky Way was also conceptualized among the Quechua as a giant river. Such an interpretation here is reinforced by the presence in the scene of a giant fish deity.

Thunder is known to be identified with a particular aster-ism (perhaps as a marker for the rainy season), but his pres ence in scene after scene associated with what seem to be a varied set of asterisms is much more appropriate for a planetary deity than for a deity identified with only one part of the sky. If we are correct in interpreting the Bourget pot as marking five successive stations around the sky, the Thunder twin, present in all of them, would almost have to be a planet. His association with agriculture is reminiscent of Amazonian stories of the origin of agriculture, sometimes by theft. Agriculture was normally considered to have been brought by Star Woman, sometimes identified as Jupiter (Levi-Strauss 1969, pp. 165-169, 250-251). In Quechua materials, the Thunder God is identified with Saturn. On presently available data, we prefer the identification of Thunder Twin with Saturn, but regard it as uncertain.

The Spider Path joins a second path that is marked by a series of step-frets. The serpent-bar path is attached to the Spider Ladder, and the two figures standing on the step-fret path are pulling the ladder toward themselves with ropes. An asterism attached to a celestial path and being pulled along relative to another celestial path is suggestive of a shifting of the equator relative to the ecliptic (namely, the precession). However, at the present time, there are too many apparent inconsistencies in our understanding of the Moche scenes to assert any interpretation of the paths with assurance. Either of the paths may be the ecliptic or segments of the ecliptic, and the role of Orion is difficult to understand. The successive horizon positions of the Sun could be conceptualized as a series of steps leading from the equinoxes to the solstices and back. If so, the step-fret would be a good marker for the shifting positions of the ecliptic on the horizon, or, perhaps, for the whole zone of declinations in which the planets move. In such a case, the step-fret may also define a zone of the sky corresponding to the tropical zone (the boundaries of the solar motion), or beyond, to the wider limits set by the mean-derings of the planets, especially Venus. The change of the step-fret path into the war-club path may indicate the dominance of Thunder at the beginning of the rainy season. Both the serpent-bar path and the step-fret paths are associated with the Sun, perhaps with a particular emphasis on the step-fret at the equinoxes (the "Andean cross" of four joined step-frets pointing to the cardinal directions on the Akapana at Tiahuanaco will be discussed in §14.2.4). The serpent-bar path formed by depictions of the equivalent of solar rays could then represent the celestial equator.

The two-headed fox-snake as the litter-of-the-Sun is sometimes marked with a step-fret (Figure 14.13). The body of the two-headed fox-snake appears as a base on which seven deities and a dog are standing. The body is marked by a 52-unit step fret above, and the snake's belly is marked by 85 dots. An additional 13 dots appear on each leg, totaling 111. A similar figure without the step-fret serves as the image of the rainbow (Figure 14.14).

In the latter representations, the two fox heads represent points of the horizon, roughly separated by 90° of azimuth. The rolling topography and desert plants suggest that Figure 14.14a is an eastern rainbow. The wavy effect and apparent flat horizon at the bottom of Figure 14.14b suggest looking across the ocean to the west. The snake's body here assumes the form of a Sun-disk. By analogy, the animal heads of the step-fret depictions on the litter of the Sun may indicate separations of 90° in ecliptic longitude.

Another factor may have to do with the rainbows and halos. The rainbow is always centered opposite the Sun (see §5.1.3). Therefore, if the Moon is precisely at the center of a rainbow, this provides a remarkably good determination of the time of full Moon. A rainbow in the east arches 40°-42° from the anti-Sun direction (depending on wavelength), whereas Venus at greatest elongation is seen ~45°-47° from the Sun (see §2.4.3). Therefore, a rainbow seen near sunset provides a basis for a mythological association between the two phenomena. The Moche rainbow depictions seem to be of two varieties, possibly distinguishing rainbows in the east from those in the west. They appear with deities taking coca.

The Moche depiction of two corncobs with deity heads (Figure 14.15, taken from Hocquenghem 1987, Fig. 165) shows a close correspondence with the Quechua Mamazara (or sometimes Saramama, "Corn-Mother"). Mamazara is said to be a collective entity of two or more large or otherwise notable corn-cobs, dressed as "dolls" and worshipped in harvest ceremonies during the month Aymoray (Hocquenghem 1987, pp. 157-160). The corn-mother is identified as an asterism, that may be part of the Southern Cross, in a drawing by Pachacuti Yamqui Salcamayhua (reproduced in Bauer and Dearborn 1995, p. 119; cf., Figure 14.32). Zuidema (1983, p. 251) points out that chu chu means "twins," "twin corn-cobs" (a synonym for which is Ayrihua, a Quechua month name). These twins are said to be two

"small" stars near the Pleiades. Hocquenghem (1987, pp. 59, 157, Fig. 170d) points out that Moche toads appear marked with drawings of cultivated plants and that Pachamama, "Earth-Mother," also associated with harvest ceremonies, is identified by modern Quechua as Santa Maria Sapo ("Holy Mary Toad"). Zuidema (1983, p. 249) also points out that a Quechua myth about Mama Rayguana, the original owner of agricultural plants, lived at Atojhuarco, "the Hanged Fox" (see Figure 14.19), in which Fox may be identified as both a constellation and as the Moon.

A series of Quechua myths and rituals surround the mountain Anahuarque on one of the ceque lines from Cuzco (to be discussed later). Several of these may be directly tied to scenes of Moche iconography, as pointed out by

Figure 14.15. The Moche depiction of two corncobs with deity heads shows a close correspondence with the Quechua Mamazara (or sometimes Saramama, "Corn-Mother"). The corn-mother has been identified as an asterism, possibly part of the Southern Cross. Drawing by Sharon Hanna, from Hocquenghem 1987, Fig. 165.

Figure 14.15. The Moche depiction of two corncobs with deity heads shows a close correspondence with the Quechua Mamazara (or sometimes Saramama, "Corn-Mother"). The corn-mother has been identified as an asterism, possibly part of the Southern Cross. Drawing by Sharon Hanna, from Hocquenghem 1987, Fig. 165.

Hocquenghem. Most strikingly, anthropomorphized beans appear in connection with two activities, both of which are associated by the Quechuas with Anahuarque. One is a game of chance, played with beans as counters (see Figure 14.16).

Among the Quechuas, this game was played as part of funeral rituals and is said to have been invented on top of

Figure 14.16. Games of chance, played with beans as counters: Among the Quechuas, this game was played as part of funeral rituals and is said to have been invented on top of Anahuarque mountain. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

Figure 14.17. The other Moche "grand scene" involves anthropomorphized beans—a representation of races with beans carried by the racers (themselves sometimes anthropomorphized beans). Noble youths among the Incas raced from Anahuarque to Cuzco (f = -13.52°) as part of an initiation ritual at the time of the December solstice. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

Figure 14.17. The other Moche "grand scene" involves anthropomorphized beans—a representation of races with beans carried by the racers (themselves sometimes anthropomorphized beans). Noble youths among the Incas raced from Anahuarque to Cuzco (f = -13.52°) as part of an initiation ritual at the time of the December solstice. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

Anahuarque mountain. The other Moche "grand scene" is a representation of races with beans carried by the racers who are sometimes anthropomorphized beans (see Figure 14.17).

Noble youths among the Incas raced from Anahuarque to Cuzco (f = -13.52°) as part of an initiation ritual at the time of the December solstice. Anahuarque Mountain is said to be the ancestress of an Aymara group, the Uma, who performed a similar race in Uma Raymi (October). The alignment from Cuzco to Anahuarque is the line that marks the rise of the "eye of the llama" (Zuidema 1982a, pp. 218-220). Among the Quechua, the mountain Anahuarque is also identified as the place where the people were saved from the Flood (Zuidema 1982).

At Huarochiri, the llama is said to drink the waters of the Flood (in October) and hence to save the people. However, the people are also said to have been saved from the flood on a growing mountain. As the flood rose, the mountain rose. At the top of the mountain was Fox (a dark cloud "constellation" on the ecliptic). Urton discusses the alignment of the stellar Fox at Misminay and points out that foxes are supposed to be born only on December 25th, Christmas Day. The parallel of Fox with Uto-Aztecan Coyote, who saved the Papago from the Flood on a growing mountain is striking. Kelley knows of no Quechua association of Fox and Moon, but Moche iconography regularly associates Fox and Moon, and in northern Mexico, Coyote is sometimes identified as the Moon.

A Moche pot (Figure 14.18) shows the Flood, indicated by large fish, seals, and sea-lions swimming past the shore, with the Revolt of the Artifacts. This myth tells how tools, weary of being abused by humans, arose against them at the time of a "five-day eclipse" of the Sun.8 Both Hocquenghem

Figure 14.18. A Moche pot shows the Flood, indicated by large fish and sea-lions swimming past the shore, with the Revolt of the Artifacts: This myth tells how tools, weary of being abused by humans, arose against them at the time of a "five-day eclipse" of the Sun. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

Figure 14.18. A Moche pot shows the Flood, indicated by large fish and sea-lions swimming past the shore, with the Revolt of the Artifacts: This myth tells how tools, weary of being abused by humans, arose against them at the time of a "five-day eclipse" of the Sun. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

(1987, pp. 142-144) and Sullivan (1996, p. 221) associate this myth with a Pachakuti, or "earth-turning," the Quechua name for the end of a world age. Levi-Strauss (1969, p. 299) points out that similar myths are rare but geographically widespread in the Americas and are associated with solar eclipses among the Chiriguano and Tacana.

One pot (Figure 14.19) shows a fox within a recumbent crescent surrounded by eight-pointed stars and three other starburst-like symbols, which suggest a relationship between Moon and stars. A six-unit step-fret with steps to the right, attached to a CCW spiral, joins the head of the fox. An eight-unit step-fret with steps to the left, attached to a CW spiral, joins the foxes tail. The eight-pointed stars, which flank the crescent, may refer to planets or to planetary cycles. Finally, the starburst-like symbols consist of three quartered circles with bars and dots attached: 11 on the left, 9 in the middle, and 13 on the right.

Paired water craft appear on many pots (e.g., Figure 14.20). Deity figures stand on them. One of these figures is usually the Thunder Twin, and the other is Sun, often shown drinking from a cup. These opposing figures may represent the rainy and dry seasons, respectively. Figure 14.21 depicts a major god fishing from a boat (carried by birds) flying across the water.

An interesting theme on Moche pots is the depiction of flowers being thrown into the air from specially prepared implements resembling atlatls. There are always individuals present "decorated" with a step-fret. There is a Moche portrait vessel that seems to show one of these men with a step-fret head-dress.

Similar festivities are shown as part of the Quechua celebrations in the month Coya Raymi, the month of the Queen, which belongs to the Moon goddess. During this month, the Inca, personifying Sun, and his queen, personifying Moon, were carried on a litter with step-fret sides. In a depiction of these ceremonies, one of the warriors wears a garment with a step-fret design (Figure 14.22).

8 Such a length for a solar eclipse of any variety, is, of course, impossible. See § for a discussion of eclipse lengths. It is conceivable that the Sun could be hidden for such a time by ash from extensive volcanic activity.

In this month, there was ritual coition in connection with fertility rites designed to increase the flow of irrigation water. The male partner was regarded as a water god and the female partner as the Earth goddess. Because the September equinox was in Coya Raymi and this was the month of the Queen as Moon, the sexual union of Sun and Moon (conjunction) was regarded as particularly important at this

Crescent Moon With Point Star Meaning
Figure 14.19. A Moche pot with a fox within a recumbent crescent surrounded by eight-pointed stars and three other starburst-like symbols suggests a relationship between the Moon and stars. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

time. A complex Moche scene known from several vessels shows a deity (Sun god?) copulating with a woman, probably the Earth or Moon goddess. The goddess is portrayed as simultaneously giving birth to a tree with round fruits attached close to the trunk, in the manner of gourds. Monkeys are shown in the branches of the tree. In one version (Figure 14.23, from a later culture in the same area), a reversing double spiral with snakeheads appears above the heads of the couple. Both scene and spiral are appropriate for an equinox ceremony.

Such imagery in this context seems to us to be typical of conjunctions. Moche scenes relating to this scene fall into two categories, but the actors seem somewhat different from expectations. Sun and Earth(?) appear in the scene just discussed. In the second category, Thunder appears in the House of Thunder with a goddess not clearly identifiable, but associated with scenes of cooking, stirring, and the pouring of a liquid. This action could refer either to a cooking pot used in marriage ceremonies (Hocquenghem 1987, p. 76) or to making chicha (a corn-based alcoholic drink, which appears prominently associated with one of the fertility and irrigation myths cited by Hocquenghem 1987, p. 66). Disjointed parts of human bodies appear in one of these scenes and, on the basis of analogies elsewhere, are suggestive of a solar eclipse, perhaps at the time of a conjunction with the planet represented by Thunder.

Hocquenghem (1987, p. 185) points out that on the north coast of Peru, the iguana is said to have been transformed from a priest who was fascinated by the planet Venus. The statement may point to an identity between Venus and the

Figure 14.21. A fisher god on a flying (bird-borne) boat. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

Figure 14.23. A Chimu representation of the birth of a tree. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

Figure 14.22. Warriors at the Festival of Coya Raymi (Quechua): One of them has a step-fret design on his garment. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

iguana during at least part of the Venus cycle. The frequent association of Iguana and Thunder indicates that Iguana is a planet.

On a number of Moche pots, women are depicted with long, unbound, or disheveled hair. As we shall point out, this is a characteristic of Venus among the Quechua. It is possible, if these depictions are of the planet Venus, that they represent an aspect of atmospheric refraction of this bright planet near the horizon (see §3.1.3 for a discussion of atmospheric refraction in the context of off-shore temperature inversions). One of the most notable of these pots show eight women weaving, with six other people, of whom two are receiving offerings (Figure 14.24).

One of the weavers has strikingly disheveled hair; another is distinguished by a woven cloak. Still another is seated above a fish. Hocquenghem (1987, p. 85) associates the scene with the Quechua month Uma Raymi (about October), in which there was a weaving ceremony. If this is indeed a calendrical astronomical scene, then the possible identification of one of the weavers with a planet may indicate that the other figures can be planetary, perhaps with different identities when rising and setting. In that case, there would be an interesting parallel with the Kogi concept of the heavenly bodies as weavers. Another motif shows a goddess with long hair that is draped over and hiding a mountain peak (Hocquenghem 1987, Figs. 185, 186; Donnan 1978, Figs. 146, 147, 149, 224-226). In one of these scenes, an anthropomorphized iguana appears below the mountain. This represents a difficulty for the view that both the goddess and Iguana represent Venus. As an alternative, Iguana as the priest fascinated by Venus may represent another planet.

We can now return to the pots with the burial scene (Figure 14.6 and similar depictions). In terms of parallel mythology elsewhere, the iconography of the burial of an old woman should represent a lunar eclipse. This identification in the Moche context will now be addressed. We have argued that the step-fret band may represent the ecliptic,

Figure 14.24. The Weavers, including Venus?, from a Moche pot. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

that the serpent frame represents Orion's Belt, that Thunder is usually a planet (probably Saturn but possibly Jupiter), that Iguana may be Venus, and that the presentation scene is associated with the Dark Nebula Llama. We have also suggested the possibility that the naked old woman represents the Pleiades. If all or most of these identifications are correct, we would expect that the burial scene, too, represents an astronomical event associated with an arche-ologically attested burial and presumably accompanying ritual. If our extension of Bourget's interpretation of the "fishes" pot is correct, then the burial scene probably represents events opposite Orion's Belt in the sky. The use of serpent ropes by Thunder and Iguana suggests that the step-fret pyramid in which the burial occurs is divided vertically by the celestial equator or ecliptic rather than horizontally as on the other side. The burial of an old woman being lowered by serpent-ropes, and marked with a series of crescents, could represent a lunar eclipse. The crescents may represent actual artifacts in real burials, but this does not preclude their identification as indicators of lunar days or synodic/sidereal months. One of the burial scenes shows 13 crescents between the ropes, and two show 18 crescents. The crescents are similar to those used by a modern day Barasana shaman to represent months (Hugh-Jones 1982, Fig. 2), which in context may represent sidereal months. Thirteen sidereal lunar months are 354.9 days, and 12 synodic months are 354 days, twice the primary eclipse interval of 177 days (see §§5.2.2 and 12.11). Eighteen sidereal lunar months are 491.4 days, and 17 synodic months are 501.5 days, not an eclipse interval. Eighteen is suggestive both of Hocquenghem's Grand Scenes and of Kogi months. The crescents bear repeated but varying blips that may also have numerical meaning. There are also strombus shells present. If the strombus was associated with year beginnings, as suggested by Sullivan, they may indicate years. If the association is particularly with the spiral of the Sun between equinox and solstice, they could represent half-years. Unfortunately, although it is possible to find repetition in the numbers of various symbols, some of which approximate astronomical intervals, there is no pattern that is consistent enough to be convincing.

A remarkably instructive pot (Figure 14.25), published by Donnan (1976, pp. 22-23), shows 15 animals running in an upward spiral. At the bottom is a Fox-Snake, which should represent the ecliptic at an equinox or solstice point. The spiral suggests the path that the heavenly bodies follow along the ecliptic, whereas the 15 animals suggest the interval from new Moon to full Moon. If we assume that the stars were identified as lineage ancestors, as in Inca times, and that many stars were considered to be animals, the interpretation becomes even more likely. The presence of hexagons on the handle of this stirrup-spout bottle may be related to their ethnoastronomical usage among the Tukanoan groups where they are associated with Orion.

A number of distinguishing characteristics mark different kinds of individuals and animals. Runners normally have one of two frontal ornaments on their head-dresses, either circular or rectangular, which normally but not always alternate between successive runners. Among warriors, a distinction between factions is indicated by the use of rectangular or circular shields. Warriors are also distinguished by the kinds of weapons they used and by designs on their head-dresses, earplugs, or clothing. They may also be marked by distinctive facial painting or tattoos. The distinction between the two classes of warriors could correspond to the ceremonial battles between the "Upper" (Hanan) and "Lower" (Hurin) moieties. Moreover, we know that a common moiety division in many parts of the Amazonian rain forest is between Sky people and Earth people. The division may have paralleled an astronomical one. Possible astronomical divisions may include sunset and sunrise

Figure 14.25. A Moche pot with 15 animals running in an upward spiral: At the bottom is a Fox-Snake, which may represent the ecliptic at an equinox or solstice point. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

(east/west or night/day); north and south of the equator; north and south of the ecliptic; inside and outside the tropics; or within the boundaries of the Milky Way or outside of them. It is hard to see how to apply any of these divisions to the animal sequence of Figure 14.25, if it represents lunar movements over a 15-day interval.

Astronomical phenomena, if indeed present in Moche art, can be accepted only if the gods of the planets can be identified. Possible planetary figures in Moche art are as follows:

(1) The god with serpent rays surrounding his head is the Sun god.

(2) (a) The goddess with whom Sun and Thunder are fre quently associated is probably Moon; however, not all female depictions are of the Moon.

(b) Calancha regarded Moon as male.

(c) Fox seems to be sometimes a form of Moon and sometimes an asterism or dark nebula figure.

(3) The god who wears the rainbow-serpent belt (apparently a god of agriculture) is the equivalent of the Quechua and Aymara Thunder God, probably either Saturn or Jupiter.

(4) The association of the Bean Lord with ritual races and with messengers seems to equate him with the Quechua messenger god, identified by the Anonymous Chronicler as Mercury.

(5) Hummingbird as a god has serpent rays like those of Sun and is particularly associated with warfare as is Mars among the Quechua, according to the Anonymous Chronicler. Therefore, he may be either a bird form of the Sun or Mars.

(6) (a) There is evidence that Iguana may be a form of


(b) The goddess with disheveled hair seems to correspond with the Quechua name of Venus.

In Moche art, we think there is clear evidence of World Ages, good evidence for extensive representations of constellations, strong suggestions of graphic symbols for the celestial equator and ecliptic, apparent planetary actors, possible depictions of effects of precessional changes, and eclipse imagery associated with solstices and equinoxes. It would seem desirable to study Moche astronomy in more detail.

From a late period in the same area, Sakai (1998) reports an interesting bowl (Figure 14.26), marked with a level and grid. This is the only pre-Columbian surveyor's tool (if that is indeed what it is) known from the Americas. It may have been used for building and performing astronomical observations. The way in which it may have been used is not known, but a plausible interpretation can be obtained from the figure.

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