Fighting scene

CHIMU - PERU . 1100 - 1470 A.D.

Height     :  17.5 cm
Width      :  17    cm
Length     :  14.5 cm
Hollowed-out brown terracotta with black coating

Anthropomorphic sculpture representing a fighting scene between two male characters.

The bodies of these two characters are stylized. They mixed up in the fight. A character immobilized the other on the ground. He is in a strong position. He pushed the enemy’s head away with his left hand and holds the arm of the enemy. The one on the ground tried to get up by punching him on the cheek. The dominant puts pressure with the foot on the leg of his victim restrained on the ground in an uncomfortable posture.

The heads are modeled and seem to wear grotesque masks. The heads rest on a thick neck. The round eyes are hemmed and hollowed-out. The dominant has a nose small and short whereas the wrestler on the ground has a split nose. The open mouths reveal the teeth. The cheeks are high and salient. The forehead is rounded. The head is topped of a headdress composed by many crests in three rows. The shoulders are sloping. On the left shoulder of the standing character is grabbing a monkey, witness of this fighting scene. The monkey is small. The round eyes are hemmed and hollowed-out. The nose is short. The mouth is open. The body is thin. His long tail falls along the character’s back. The characters’ arms are thin. The fingers are suggested by grooves. The busts are large and thick. The characters are wearing loincloth. The legs are strong and bent. The feet are suggested by a recess. On the lateral side, there is a handle surmounted by a vertical neck with large and circular edges. The whole sculpture of great modernity is pure.

It really is a true masterpiece of the Chimu statuary. This sculpture is simply exceptional and remarkable due to its quality of execution and the subject represented. This fighting scene, atypical and rare, is full of dynamism. The characters are surprising by their intense expression, their strong presence and the energy they release that make them alive, in accordance with a dance movement.

The Chimu culture develops between 850 and 1500 A.D. around the Moche valley, on the north coast of Peru. It is considered as one of the most important and complex societies of the Central Andes and represents the culmination of an autonomous cultural development’s process