The Moche ruled the northern coast of Peru 2000 years ago. Though little recorded
written account exists for these people, it is known they erected mud and brick
pyramids, fashioned intricate aqueducts, and with an advanced skill with
metallurgy created intricate jewelry and artifacts. Moche ceramics is especially
held in high regard by archeologists, as much for the intricate and beautiful
decoration Moche artisans managed to paint across their vessels as for their
tridimensional rendering. In the 1980’s a bunch of Peruvian Moche artifacts was
unearthed, like the clay water vessels the EHM currently has on exhibit and these
vessels, like lots of Moche artifacts, depict explicit sexuality.
Known in the vernacular as “sex pot,” these infamous Moche pieces are typically
what people refer to when considering artifacts with a high-end of sexual
connotation. The Moche pieces are regarded as some of the most explicit ever
Typically rendered with three-dimensional figures topping them, the sexually-
themed Moche ceramics portray various figures-human, deities and skeletons-
engaged in sex acts ranging from heterosexual fellatio, masturbation (male figures
only) and various positions of heterosexual intercourse. Interestingly, in the scenes
of intercourse, often the female in the scene is breastfeeding and the most
frequently depicted sexual act is anal sex. Many animals are also included in the
mix of these sexual depictions; both the bat and the jaguar holding specific
religious connotations to the Moche.
In many instances, including one of our pieces, a figure’s body proportions might
be rendered well out of proportion. One of our Peruvian-Moche Erotic Clay
Vessels shows a figure holding an ‘exaggerated’ erection.
Considered some of the most representational art of the ancient Andes, the Moche
sex pots are not only decorative but also fully functional. Moche pots displaying
themes of various sex acts also feature hollow chambers and spouts (albeit spouts
shaped like phalluses) for water carry and pouring.