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Art of the Ancient Americas
Maker: Unknown

Finial or Ornament in the Shape of Two Hunters Carrying a Deer

A.D. 400–700

Copper or copper alloy

6 × 6.2 × 2 cm (2 3/8 × 2 7/16 × 13/16 in.)
Gift of Thomas T. Solley, B.A. 1950
During the declining years of the Moche empire of the North Coast of Peru, metalsmiths employed increasingly complex methods of casting metals, such as copper and copper alloys. In this small, fairly rough work, created in several stages using the lost-wax technique, two hunters carry a dead stag. Both hunters wear feathered headdresses and carry bags on their backs. The freshly killed stag, its legs tied together and tongue lolling out of its mouth, swings freely from the rod held by the hunters. The group stands on a small base, forming a finial that was once attached to a larger ceremonial object, perhaps a knife or a chisel.
Central Andes, Peru
Central Andes, North Coast, Loma Negra, Moche
Early Intermediate Period to Middle Horizon

North Coast (Loma Negra?); Thomas T. Solley (1924–2006), Bloomington, Ind., to 2002; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Dr. Christopher B. Donnan, Moche Art of Peru: Pre-Columbian Symbolic Communication (Los Angeles: Fowler Museum at UCLA, 1978).

Heather Lechtman, Pre-Columbian Metallurgy of South America (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1979), pgs. 1–40.

George A. Kubler, The Art and Architecture of Ancient America, 3d ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 1984).

Rebecca Stone-Miller, Art of the Andes: From Chavin to Inca (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995).

Kathleen Berrin and Dr. Christopher B. Donnan, The Spirit of Ancient Peru: Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera, exh. cat. (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997), 51–59.

“Acquisitions 2002,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2003): 131.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.