Naked, barefooted, with uncovered buttocks: War–captives in the Moche art
The article discusses the representations of war–captives in the art (ceramics; to a lesser extant also sculpture and painting) of the people who created the Moche archaeological complex (northern coast of Peru; 2nd–7th century AD). Because this culture never developed the art of writing, it can only be researched through archaeological evidence. Wołoszyn points out that warriors taken captive in battles were immediately deprived of arms, decorations, and clothing, bound, and later on cruelly executed at a different location. Lack of evidence that they suffered any kind of torture prior to death points to the ritual aspect of their killing (perhaps just as the whole warfare they were engaged in). According to Wołoszyn the deprival of arms, decorations and clothing was a symbolic removal of their prior high (as representatives of the warrior class) social status (the depictions of geometrical motifs or of lizards and snakes painted or tattooed on their bodies may be proof of their social status). The author emphasizes that disrobing, although technically robbery, is also a form of humiliating and dispossessing of social status, frequently encountered from ancient till contemporary times among various cultures (cf. the photographing of naked prisoners in Abu Ghraib in Iraq).