One of the most frequently represented rituals in Moshe pottery is the “deer hunt” (Caza del Venato). The hunters are members of the Mocha nobility, who are seen wearing fine clothing, magnificent headdresses with metal adornments, large ear ornaments and breastplates. They often carry weapons such as clubs, lances, darts and spear throwers. In this example the deer are being caught with nets with women waiting with vessels to collect the blood. The way in which these individuals are dressed indicates that this hunt was ceremonial In nature. The attire of the noble hunters is very similar to the clothing wom by the warriors who faced each other in ritual combat. In the same way that these combats were not related to the conquest of territory, but rather to the capturing of opponents for sacrifice, the aim of these hunts was to capture a deer for ritual sacrifice rather than food. The presence of the spotted dog, often the companion of the radiant God (called psychopomp in this context) and warrior priests, emphasizes the religious nature of the deer hunt.
The weather has been nice out here in Las Vegas, so I thought I would do a day trip to the Valley of Fire to check out the scenery and spring flowers. The Valley of Fire derives its name from red sandstone formations, formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of dinosaurs, 150 million years ago. Complex uplifting and faulting of the region, followed by extensive erosion, have created the present landscape. Other important rock formations include limestones, shales, and conglomerates. Prehistoric users of the Valley of Fire included the Basket Maker people and later the Anasazi Pueblo farmers from the nearby fertile Moapa Valley. The span of approximate occupation has been dated from 300 BCE to 1150 CE. Their visits probably involved hunting, food gathering, and religious ceremonies, although scarcity of water would have limited the length of their stay. Fine examples of rock art left by these ancient peoples can be found at several sites within the park.