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Headdress Element in the Form of a Fox Head

The Moche have long been acclaimed as master metalsmiths, although only since the 1960s have large quantities of Moche metalwork been found. In making this fox head, a Moche artist attached pieces of metal to each other by means of tabs and slots, not by soldering or welding. The aim clearly was to create an image of a fox that was true to life: each whisker was attached individually, indications of nostrils were pressed into the nose, and shell was added to create more realistic teeth and eyes (the pupils, probably of darker shell or stone, are now missing). The sense of realism was intensified by the addition of a tongue that sways freely, creating the appearance of a panting animal.

Moche culture, Peru
Headdress Element in the Form of a Fox Head
400–800
Copper, gold wash, shell
L. 6 in. (15.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2003.1