Big-Eared Brown Bat Vessel

200–850 CE
Overall: 18.4 x 17.7 x 15.8 cm (7 1/4 x 6 15/16 x 6 1/4 in.)
Location: 232 Andean
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Did You Know?

This vessel depicts a big-eared brown bat.


This bat, perhaps shown opening its wings before taking flight, illustrates Moche artists’ keen interest in realism and in capturing activity at its peak. Moche bat symbolism may be linked to the animal’s paradoxical traits—for instance, bats fly but have fur rather than feathers. Such traits may have caused the Moche to link bats with transitional states, such as the passage between life and death. The vessel depicts a member of the Histiotus mochica species, a big-eared brown bat that researchers described in 2021 and, due to this vessel, named in honor of the Moche, also known as the Mochica.
Big-Eared Brown Bat Vessel

Big-Eared Brown Bat Vessel

200–850 CE

Central Andes, North Coast, Moche people


The Symbolism

A Tomb Offering

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