“Throughout history, clothing has not only protected us from the natural elements, it has also enabled us to demonstrate who we are. Our clothing and adornments indicate our gender and social position, as well as our origins and what we do. In all ancient societies, the elite employed ways of defining themselves. In ancient Peru leaders would dress and adorn themselves with articles exclusive to their social rank. They would preside over the principal ceremonies wearing garments and ornaments which not only denoted the function they performed, but which also displayed the religious codes of their society and the emblems of power and privileged status. Their social position and identity were defined by their dress, crowns and many items of jewelry. When they died they took with them into the afterlife objects which expressed their way of seeing the world. They were interred with the ritual attire which had identified their rank during life, and which had marked them out as the descendants of the gods. Their identity transcended their earthly existence and accompanied them into the next world. After death, these rulers would be transformed into ancestors who would share a place in the celestial world with the gods.” Larco Museum
This Sculptural Virú Pitcher from the Peruvian Formative Period represents a creature with the body of a feline, the head of an owl and the tail of a snake. The Gallinazo culture that reigned on the north coast of Peru from about 200 B.C. to 300 A.D. was developed in the river valley of Virú. That is why it is sometimes also called the Virú culture. This North Coast culture was based in the Virú Valley and extended into the Moche and Santa Valleys as well. The Virú Valley is on a coastal landscape which consists of a narrow land strip boarded by the Andes Mountains to its east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Gallinazo artefacts have been found from the area that extends from the river valley of Santa almost to the border of Ecuador. The Gallinazo culture is an important mark in the prehistory of the north coast, because the aristocratic administrative system that it developed and strengthened laid the foundation for the Moche culture.