Moche and Nazca Pottery

Moche and Nazca Pottery PosterThe Museum of Art and Archaeology is privileged to hold ceramics from many pre-Columbian civilizations. In this online exhibition we present selections from the collection illustrating the ceramic artistry of two of the best-known cultures of the arid Peruvian coast, Moche and Nazca, both dating to the Early Intermediate Period. The Early Intermediate period (roughly 200BCE- 600CE) includes the Moche, Nazca, Recuay, Vicus, and Salinar cultures, among others. It’s preceded by the Formative Period (1800BCE-200BCE) which includes the Cupisnique, Chavín, Paracas, Casma–Sechin and related cultures, and succeeded by the Middle Horizon (600-1000CE) including the Huari, Piura and Tiwanaku cultures, and the Late Intermediate Period (1000-1476CE) including the Chancay, Chincha, Aymara kingdoms, Chimú, and rise of the Inka. Because these are regional cultural periods, they do not exactly correspond to the periods of individual cultures. Both Moche and Nazca communities were agriculturalists dependent on irrigation—albeit of very different kinds—to feed growing societies. Both also produced remarkable metalwork, and extremely complex and beautifully woven textiles, often found preserved in the arid environment.

Click on the button below to view each exhibition gallery.

Button - Moche PotteryButton - Nazca Pottery








Additional Resource Material

Chart Maps of Ancient Peruvian Cultures

Ancient Peruvian Cultures Timeline


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Museum Galleries are CLOSED.
The Museum is preparing to move to a new location at the lower east level of Ellis Library in the center of the MU campus.
Reopening date is as yet unknown. It is hope that the galleries will be open by Spring/Summer 2022.

"I still remember the feeling of awe and disbelief when I was alone and walked in the room with those casts." --Ruth Tofle, chair of architecture, winner of the 2013 distinguished faculty award from the MU Alumni Association