Images in a World without Words:
Questioning the Canon in Moche Studies
Sarahh Scher Visiting Lecturer Salem State University
As the scholarship on Moche art expands, it is becoming clear that only a small group of artworks is most often used to interpret Moche culture. These works were selected for the most part prior to the proliferation of scientific excavation, due to their rich imagery, which holds out the promise of usefulness in interpreting a culture that does not have written records. However, there is no real basis for their assumed place as authoritative objects that speak for Moche ideology, especially as Moche political diversity becomes more apparent. The repeated publication of these works in scholarly analysis is having the effect of creating a false sense of ubiquity for some elements of Moche iconography. The result of this is that a small set of works is rapidly growing into a narrow canon that does not reflect the full diversity of Moche artistic expression and iconography, while eliding many forms of difference. A case study of the Sacrifice Ceremony is used to illustrate the problems of this situation.
Thursday, April 12, 2018 6 PM in the Lecture Hall The Institute of Fine Arts 1 East 78th Street