The Vicús Culture

The Vicús culture (200 B.C.-600 A.D.) reigned in the northernmost corner of Peru´s coastal area. Several details of art and architecture link it with the Moche culture, but just as many details point to local development and influence radiating from the direction of Ecuador.

The world of motifs in the Vicús metal artefacts is richer than that of the ceramics and it resembles the ornamental motifs of the Moche culture. Also, the technique of making metal artefacts is similar to that in the nuclear areas of the Moche culture. Despite the resemblances, the Vicús metal artefacts are of local origin. Developing metallurgy was invested in in the area to the extent that ceramics was left in the margin a little.

The Vicús ceramics was influenced by the Salinar and Gallizano cultures and from the direction of Ecuador. Both a sculptural nature and painted ornamentation were typical of the design of the artefacts. Animal and human figures were especially popular.

The shape of the mace head, made of copper, resembles the sun. Between the shaft hole and the outer ring there appear four animals with long noses and tails. This fine Vicús object was probably used both as a weapon and as a ritual tool. © Museo del Banco Central de Reserva del Perú, Lima, Peru (Cat. 56)