About 1 000 years ago the great Huari state emerged in Peru’s southern Andes. They expanded through military occupation, alliances and ideological persuasion. As a result, they evolved an esthetical and symbolic style where universal and unique features live side by side. Testimonies of the Huari State are found in the northern Cajamarca Andes and in the distant low mountain range of Moquegua, in the high Amazon forest and in coastal Ancash.
Using and giving certain objects was a way communities spread and strengthened their religious ideologies. In Huari society, the toast and, therefore, the vessels that contained them and their exchange, were used and delivered in regions where Huaris had effective control of the state or where they had established political alliances with the local ethnic groups. These fine glazed ceramic vases exhibit faces of Huari lords, one of them adorned with headdresses and earrings, while the other shows heads of divinities donning radiant headdresses. These pieces’ design reminds us of avant garde cubist style.
Crossed lines and cruciform designs allude to those astral elements that allow us to mark a center point, a “crossroads” in the sky that the communities used as references for mapping the heavens. These objects’ radial designs could refer to the Sun and its rays, a source of vital power coming from the world above. The white drawings on the decorated surface add movement to the geometric patterns.
The cane-holding standing character, positioned at the center, as an axis mundi or organizer, is central to Andean iconography and seems to express the power of the divinity to unite, connect, and organize interactions between worlds. It appears in the northern art of Chavin, in the southern art of Tiahuanaco, and in other styles. Continuous rays becoming serpents are typical of Andean High Plateau esthetics.