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The Whistler

The Whistler

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Published by Cliff
A Moche Vessel showing a Figure Sitting and Whistling. A possible meaning behind this depiction.
A Moche Vessel showing a Figure Sitting and Whistling. A possible meaning behind this depiction.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Cliff on Dec 27, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Whistler:A Moche VesselClifford C. RicheyDecember 2011e-mail: crichey1937@yahoo.com
 Illustration 1: Photo Credit: EdgarLOwen.com
This Moche ceramic is quite interesting because it provides us with a good mentalimage of what it is about. The vessel's overall Form is one of a Gourd,
a container of seeds.
The gourd was probably used as anagricultural metaphor for the earth and the seeds that it contained. The idea that the bodies of the deadwere planted into the earth and later arose to the surface a kind of plant like
Thus the clayvessel itself should be viewed as the earth (an earthen container) and the message of the signs revolvesaround
metaphor. That the Figure is Sitting indicates that it is
for some event.
 Illustration 2: The Whistler  Illustration 3: Gourd Shapes Photo Credit: Peter Woodard 
The overall Imagery is of a Figure waiting and whistling as if passing the time. The Figure holds whatappears to be a dead deer in its arms.The next largest sign is the Imagery of the Deer being
held within the earth
. The Deer is
dead or wornout 
as indicated by its tongue hanging out of its mouth. The Deer appears to have been the sign for t
heone that wanders
around as is characteristic of a deer's behavior. In many Moche ceramics there isimagery of Human or Bean-warriors doing battle with Deer-warriors. This would seem to imply thatthe Bean-warriors were the local farmers defending their territory from outsiders or 
The Deer Imagery was created out of several signs. The Ear probably represents a Leaf and and inmany Moche depictions the Ear indeed has veins like a leaf. This combined with the arched Tail(
) speaks to the sprouting mentioned above.
The ascending leaf –the sprouting.
The Ear is anorifice thus the sprouting is from
a hole
in the earth's surface. As we have noted in previous papers the placement of signs alluded to something in that position. The Leaf sign placed over the position of theEar alludes to
the orifice
in the Ear.The meaning of the Deer's Antlers is not so clear but they may represent a
role. They mayalso have depicted rough Hand signs which would indicate the Hands of the Sun or 
Ineither case
the ascension
of some type of 
important person
was indicated. The Tail of the deer is thesign for 
ascending upwards and over the surface
 surface line
 provided by the Line of the back of the Deer.The Genitals of the Deer indicate that it was
Further the Gonads are in the Form of the signs for 
male-spirits ( 
the Form of the glans penis)
while the Penis is difficult to see and may be the Rectangular Form of a
sign or another 
sign. Both of these are positioned as
on the side
(referringto on the side of the earth).The overall Form of the Deer's Hind Legs is that of a Bird (blue outline)
flying upwards
. It touches theHand and there is an unclear sign next to the Bird's head. The right Wing of the Bird is a Finger  pointing a direction
into the opening 
made by the “V: shaped notch in the left Wing. Thuswe have t
he Hand of the Sun, the steward of the Sun, his spirit, in upward flight to an opening,
 , on-the-side.
The Arms and Hands, on their own or not viewed as part of 
the Deer Imagery. indicates The Arms (
) and Hands of (
) of the Sun thus meaning,
warrior- priests
 Illustration 4: The Upward  Flight 

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