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PCSNY March 9 lecture – George Lau

March 9, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

An Offering Context at Pashash (A.D. 200–600):
Camelid Imagery and the Lordly Commitment
in the Ancient Americas

George Lau
Reader, Archaeology of the Americas
Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania & the Americas
University of East Anglia, Norwich

Recuay ceramic vessel depicting warrior lord and camelid, ca. A.D. 500.
Collection of the Municipality of Chacas, Peru. Photograph by George Lau.

For studying early Andean peoples when camelids became increasingly incorporated into social and political life, there is perhaps no better case than the Recuay culture (ca. A.D. 1–700) of ancient Peru. Recent investigations at the site of Pashash (Ancash) uncovered an offering cache including fired clay camelid objects, in the form of pendants, an effigy vessel and small figurines.  The items and the context provide important evidence for new engagements, physical and conceptual, with camelids during the Recuay period.  In particular, they were among the earliest expressions of lordly ‘commitment’ to camelids as wealth, and their depiction on portable valuables emphasizes their public ceremonial use in feasts and sacrificial offerings.  The camelid items indicate that herded camelids became resources for noble identity and authority in northern Peru, and were increasingly seen as crucial for community well-being and social reproduction.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021
6:00 PM
Hosted over Zoom
The Institute of Fine Arts–NYU


March 9, 2021
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Institute of Fine Arts–NYU
1 E. 78th Street
New York, United States
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