Sex and Death in the Ancient Americas

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Images of sex or death may be deemed immoral or inappropriate in current culture, however, ancient American cultures viewed these acts in a different manner. From the Aztecs of Mexico to the Moche of Peru, sex and death were the bookends of life with one representing conception and the other termination. Instead of being in contrast, these ideas were intimately linked within a cosmology that included ancestors, mythological beings and inanimate objects. This lecture will explore the images of sex and death on artworks from ancient Mesoamerican and Peruvian cultures.