Ephemeral Objects: An Alternative Perspective on the Maquetas of San Jose de Moro

Author(s): Rebekah Montgomery

Year: 2018


This presentation examines the collection of unfired clay models, or maquetas, from the Moche site of San José de Moro, Peru, proposing an interpretation focused on their unique materiality and position within the artistic corpus at the site.  A renewed focus on Moche architectural representation treats these three-dimensional models as miniaturized, mimetic sculptures of monumental buildings, often used to understand the function of ceremonial space in the past. As of 2012, fifty maquetas have been uncovered from twelve elite tombs at San José de Moro.  These burials range from the Late Moche Period (AD 650-800) through the Transitional Period (AD 800-1100).  Prior investigators argue that the models served as effigies of ceremonial structures significant to the life of the deceased. The ephemeral materiality and privileged appearance of maquetas remain constant over multiple centuries despite changes in their form and frequency within elite tombs.  Maquetas are also represented in the Burial Theme found on multiple fineline vessels from San José de Moro, suggesting the importance of the maqueta in funerary process.  I explore the agency of these transitional objects and consider the significance of architectural representation in the elite burials.

Cite this Record

Ephemeral Objects: An Alternative Perspective on the Maquetas of San Jose de Moro. Rebekah Montgomery. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443264)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21882