Garth Bawden begins his introduction into Moche politics by stating that in order for social development of this scale to come about, there has to be a “unique combination of internal developments and external interactions” (Bawden, 119) Their political influence is tied to a larger understanding of social relationships between people and objects in order to establish dominance. Using strong projections of ideology, power could be formulated by legitimising fictitious beliefs into reality. Moche ideological political power arose as early as the second millennium BC (during the Initial period). (Bawden, 120) A common ideological figure seen through out Moche material culture is the representation of shaman and shamanistic rituals. Ceramic vessels often depict many transformative interactions between a shaman and other worldly beings, that being gods or the dead. Depictions like this project the idea of a hierarchical ability which is reinforced through the culture’s understanding of death and ritual. Political ideologies focused around a particular position of power are also reinforced through ritual activity. A cross cultural understanding of one’s relationship to the dead reinforces their importance and power in social events such as sacrifice. Moche society flourished during the Middle Period and their political and social organization was at its highest control. (Bawden, 124) Specialized trade and monumental building solidified a dominant power fueled by political and religious control by the Moche. Shamanism and religious practice began to interweave its way into political order, finding ways to incorporate beliefs into everyday life. Temples began being adorned with religious figured and iconography, public rituals became regular and sacred sited became more recognized by the general public as places of power. This also created an aura around religious beings as they were the direct communicators with spiritual beings from the mortal world.
Chapter 10 focuses on the importance of domestic household archaeology and their importance for interpreting the archaeological record and Tiwanaku society. Tiwanaku was a bountiful city, expanding around 6.5 km2 by 800 A.D and was the home to around 15,000- 30,000 permanent inhabitants. (Janusek, 183) Although society functioned as a collective, represented by similar political, social and religious ideologies, the household is also a unique area for dynamic group interaction. Janusek believes that there needs to be a rejection of the idea that households of lower status communities were homogenous in their everyday practices, but instead held their own hierarchical power among their members and projected their own forms of social identity. (Janusek, 185) Instead of ritual events regulating power control, household relationship demonstrations were shown on a daily basis. (Janusek, 185) IT is understood that no culture could exist without some form of power and no person, community or larger social body is ever outside one’s boundary of power. Anyone involved in this two way power relationship is allocated a certain amount of power over another through social networks. (Janusek, 187) Social power by a ruling class is thus constructed around specific ideologies to which only a certain select can identify with, establishing specific qualifications for select forms of power. This can also be applied to household ideologies of status over others or a bounded relation to another group. An example of this in the text were the “apartment compounds” discovered at the Mayan capital of Teotihuacan. (Janusek, 188) Communities will congregate with other households they deem equal or related too, showing this through clothing, interactions with others, language and architecture of their houses. (Janusek, 188)
The expansion of the site of Tiwanaku during the Late Formative 1 is an example of how ideologies of religious power projected their message across the site. Social temple spaces were reconfigured around a cosmological layout, creating visual pathways to important celestial objects and landscapes. (Janusek, 195) The city in itself in relation to the monumental landscape surrounding it, was created to be an experience, a place where one can become lost in the projection of myth and religious ideologies through architecture and spatial organization. (Janusek, 196) The importance of figures who represent the connection from the present world to the spirit world is evident in excavated buildings in Tiwanaku. Throughout the city, buildings were adorned with various iconographic symbols representing the chakana (the Andean cross, a step-sided diamond) which represented the spiritual significance. (Stone, 133) Kitchen’s rich with prime cuts of meat and other ingredients along with highly specialized and labor intensive masonry for walls and walkways have been found in areas of elite living. The importance of these people, and the messages and images associated with them, was well known among Tiwanaku inhabitants. So well known in fact, that they established a social distinction above others outside of the common society, one which is respected and well rewarded in fine goods, such as meals and living quarters. (Janusekm 200)
Bawden, Garth. “The Art of Moche Politics.” in Andean Archaeology. ed. Silverman, Helaine. (Oxford, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2004) 116-130.
Janusek, John W. “Household and City in Tiwanaku.” in Andean Archaeology. ed. Silverman, Helaine. (Oxford, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2004), 183-209.
Stone, Rebecca R. Art of the Andes. (London, Thames & Hudson, 2012.) p 127-163.