Mochica mōchē´kə [key], ancient Native American civilization on the coast of N Peru. Previously called Early Chimu (see Chimu ), the Mochica were warriors with a highly developed social and political organization. They built temples, pyramids, and aqueducts of adobe brick, were skilled in irrigation, and produced remarkable ceramics. In their stirrup jars, painted with scenes of everyday life, and their figure-modeled portrait jars they revealed fantasy and humor and achieved an astonishing fidelity to human forms. The civilization, which began c.100 BC, is believed to have lasted 1,000 years.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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