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Archaeological InterpretationsSymbolic Meaning within Andes Prehistory$
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Peter Eeckhout

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066448

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066448.001.0001

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Metal in the Recuay Culture of Ancient Peru

Metal in the Recuay Culture of Ancient Peru

Art, Imagery, and Social Context

(p.145) 6 Metal in the Recuay Culture of Ancient Peru
Archaeological Interpretations
George Lau
University Press of Florida

Of the major media in the Recuay culture (AD 1–700, Peru), metalwork is perhaps the least understood. This chapter reviews the major forms of Recuay metalwork (personal adornments, weapons) and focuses on their imagery, technology, and contexts of use at three sites: Pashash, Pomakayán, and Chinchawas. Metals were not used for everyday objects. Rather, as signs of wealth and distinction, they served to affix people’s “social skin”—that frontier that mediates self and others. Metal objects were complements to textiles and therefore essential in making Recuay persons, namely chiefly lords and noble women, especially during times of social display and funerary cult. The imagery of metals repeats key designs in ceramics and stone sculpture, namely powerful mythical creatures and human figures seen as crucial in life and death transitions. Major changes in metal use occurred during the time of the Middle Horizon, when foreign cultural influence, especially Wari, transformed local practices.

Keywords:   metalwork, Recuay culture, Wari

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