The Moche civilization has received considerable scholarly attention over the past three decades, in the wake of the impressive discoveries of the tombs of the Lord of Sipán in 1987. Archaeologists have uncovered towering huacas (monumental stepped platforms), sumptuous burials, and meticulously crafted fine-line ceramics at a plethora of sites scattered along the river valleys of Peru’s north coast. But perhaps the most enigmatic features of the Moche artistic repertoire are the murals that adorn the walls of temples and residences of dozens of archaeological sites across the region. The best-known Moche wall paintings are those at Huaca de la Luna, which boasts friezes of prisoners, mythological creatures, and the aptly...

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