Fox Warrior Bottle

Date: 4th–6th century

Geography: Peru

Culture: Moche

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: H. 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Containers

Credit Line: Gift of Judith Riklis, 1983

Accession Number: 1983.546.4


This stirrup spout bottle shows Moche warrior attributes represented in two and three dimensions. Clubs, lances, and helmet strings painted in red radiate from the center of the vessel's body. On top of the bottle, the tridimensional part can be interpreted as a zoomorphized war club or as a fox warrior tying a club-shaped headdress under its chin. Fruits or tubers appear on the front of the club. Foxes are often depicted as warriors in Moche art. Their role in religion perhaps derives from their behavior in the natural world. Foxes hunt and capture small prey, as warriors would fight and capture prisoners. As foxes are nocturnal and live in underground burrows, they are also associated with the world of the dead.