On the Iconography of the ancient Peruvian cultures
The available literature on ancient Peru reveals little about iconography. What is available seems neither well organized nor coherent. Furthermore, it can be seen that the studies on iconography focus only on individual cultures or on specific aspects of their artistic legacies. For example, special attention is accorded to the fine line painting of Moche on a variety of ceramics or the corresponding vessel paintings of Nazca. Areas such as wall paintings and reliefs or textiles receive only a sporadic interest and relatively few attempts at interpretation. Lacking also is any comprehensive overview of the subject. There is no comparative description of all ancient Peruvian cultures over a period of two and a half to three thousand years, the time immediately before Chavín to the time of the Incas, and ultimately to the Spanish conquest of the country. Also, such a comparative analysis must take into account the different materials and techniques in the creation of these works of art. This includes ceramics, metal objects, bone or wood, further reliefs in stone or clay, and paintings on different materials or even textiles. If it can be hypothesized that a plurality of objects of different types and provenance could have comparable or at least similar motifs, it may be advisable to incorporate these aspects in the examination.
It also might be fruitful to reflect on representations of the divine image across cultures and in relation to the different materials, techniques and artistry used in their design. Another is the analysis of the impact of Chavín as the early dominant culture on the iconography. Ancient Peru, despite considerable topographic and climatic peculiarities can be viewed as a recognizable uniform entity. Spatial and temporal context must also be considered. The author has been working for decades with the iconography of the art of ancient Peru with respect to the aforementioned parameters. The result is a logical and stringent interpretation which proves that the message of this iconography over two and half millennia and in all cultures is the same. This interpretation offers clarification of the world of the gods of ancient Peru, a definition of religious content, and its influence on the formation of civilizations.