The 'decapitator' god

Forehead ornament representing the 'decapitator' god
North coast, Peru
Moche civilization, Early Intermediate, 1-600 CE
Bronze ; 27 x 32 cm

Ai Apaec, also called 'the decapitator', is the main divinity of the Moche. At once the most feared and most venerated, this god is considered to be the Mochica's creator and guardian, the provider of not only food and water but also victory in war. He has a terrifying face with feline fangs. In one hand, he holds a knife with a curved blade; in the other, a decapitated head. Ornaments like this one must have been worn by priests taking part in sacrificial ceremonies. They have been found in rich burials, like the tombs at Sipán. This object's quality of execution, iconography and state of conservation make of it one of the marvels of Peruvian pre-Columbian metallurgy.

Discover this masterpiece in the galleries of the Museum, on the online museum catalogue Carmentis and in the book Masterpieces of the Cinquantenaire Museum.