ISSN 1989-4104
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Donna McClelland †español
Abstract. Plants and animals with features which identify them as supernaturals characterize the art of the Precolumbian Moche culture of northern Peru. Among these animals is a frog with feline attributes and a consistent association with manioc tubers, stalks, and plants, the Botanical Frog. The Botanical Frog appears to have been patterned on Leptodactylus pentadactylus. It is shown copulating with felines. Fine line painted vessels and ones with low relief decoration show the Botanical Frog performing as part of a ritual involving other animals and cultivated crops, suggesting that the Botanical Frog was associated with agriculture.
Keywords: Peru, Moche, agricultural rituals, supernatural animals, frogs, manioc.
The late Donna McClelland † was, for more than thirty five years, a student of the Moche culture of northern Peru. Working with Christopher Donnan at the University of California, Los Angeles, she helped with the establishment and formation of the Moche Archive, a photographic record of Moche artifacts based on the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. Ms. McClelland developed a technique to reproduce the intricate narrative paintings of late Moche vessels and produced almost 800 of these drawings, a boon to scholars of Moche art and culture. Her drawings have been widely reproduced in books, journals, exhibitions, and television documentaries. Out of her careful observations of Moche art, combined with her experience from participating in Moche archaeological excavations, she developed a number of important insights into the Moche mythical world of plants and animals.
How to cite this publication:
McClelland, D. 2011. The Moche Botanical Frog. Arqueología Iberoamericana 10: 30-42.
Publication date: 30-6-2011.
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