Solid copper cast warrior figures, such as this example, were burial offerings for royalty of the Moché culture. In this example, the warrior wears a padded tunic, helmet, multi-strand necklace, and ear spool ornaments, and carries a backpack with gourd water bottles. In his right hand he holds up a round war shield and in his left dangles a free moving suspended trophy head, taken in battle.
Warfare was a recurring theme, especially in Phases IV and V, the Middle and Late Phases of Moche civilization. Moche artists frequently depicted warriors and warrior activities, and hundreds of these depictions can be found in museums and private collections today. The combat they depict appears to be ceremonial rather than militaristic. The essence of Moche combat appears to have been the expression of individual valor, in which the warriors engage in one-on-one combat. The elaborate clothing and ornaments worn by Moche warriors indicate that they were people of high status—almost certainly members of the aristocracy.
Dimensions: Height: 3 inches (7.5 cm), Width: 1 1/4 inches (3.17 cm)
Condition: Fabulous blue-green surface patina with areas of red oxides. Intact and in excellent condition overall, a rare and beautiful example.
Provenance: ex: Fred Leighton Collection, ex: Alexander Acevedo Collection, acquired prior to 1990 then sold through his NYC Gallery, Alexander Gallery, thereafter acquired by the present owner from the NY trade.