January 28, 2017

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January 28, 2017




Moche erotic ceramics are pottery with figurines perched on top.  They are made of clay and painted.  Often used as a pitcher, their spouts are usually in the shape of a penis.  The figurines are  naturalistic and explicit and typically engaged in a sexual act.  Depictions include fondling; kissing; fellatio; masturbation; vaginal intercourse; and anal intercourse.   Also featured are coupling between animals; between women and mythical animals; and between women and skeletons.  Faces of the figurines are sober, though now and then a grin breaks out.  Oddly, while they make love, the woman frequently breastfeeds an infant.  As well, vaginal intercourse is rare, though anal intercourse is common.  In the ceramics that survive, there are no examples of cunnilingus, female masturbation, gay sex or lesbianism.  The pottery was produced in Moche temples and has been found only in the graves of nobles.  Their purpose was unclear, though there are some theories that they are religious.  The Spanish destroyed most of them, scandalized by their eroticism.  Five hundred pieces rest now in the Museo Larco in Lima, Peru, and in private collections.
The Moche people lived on the northern coast of Peru, their civilization active from about 100 to 800 AD.  They constructed huge pyramids and extensive aqueducts and were skilled metalworkers.  Though they had no written language, they recorded their lives in murals and ceramics.  The murals and ceramics displayed a huge range of activities, including war, birth, crafts, hunting, sacrifices, and, of course, sexual acts.
I have always loved the Moche ceramics.  At the university I attended, I taped a photo of one of them –a man with an enormous penis protruding from his body –to my dorm room door.   I still have the picture!
(Below are two examples: a couple making love and a penis).




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