Moche vessel in the shape of a man playing the flute.

Since the 1970s thousands of immigrants have come to Canada from Peru and all across Central and South America. Quite a number trace their roots back to indigenous (Aboriginal) cultures, some of them very ancient. This artifact is over 2000 years old; it is a vessel (container) in the shape of a man playing the flute. It was made by an artist of the Moche culture on the north coast of Peru. The Moche culture flourished between the years 100 and 800, and is named after the Moche River valley where the culture was first identified. The culture is known for its skilled craftspeople and sumptuous tombs. Moche pottery was often modeled, and frequently depicted scenes from everyday life. Like other cultures in ancient Peru, musical instruments played an important role in ritual and everyday life. The Moche played flutes, conch shell trumpets, rattles, bells, and drums. The importance of music to shamanism remains strong in the north coast of Peru today. This pot came from the collection of a British diplomat and was purchased by the ROM in 1924.

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