Ear peg disc with figure in ceremonial robes

Lambayeque civilization; Cerro Sapamé, Lambayeque, Northern Peru
900 - 1100 A.D. (Middle Lambayeque period)
Collection Hans Hinrich Brüning, 1928
Wrought and engraved gilt copper sheet
ø 10 cm, d. 1,5 cm
Inv. Nr. 28.147:11


This disc originally was the front of a large ear peg, which only high-ranking persons of the Lambayeque civilization (also known as Sicán civilization) were allowed to wear. It depicts a figure in stately robes with scepter and headdress, which is made up of many different, movable parts of gold plating. On its head, the figure wears an expansive, two-part headdress – a symbol of power and at the same time the feature of many mythical religious representations of the Lambayeque civilization. Its face is covered with a mask, one of a kind that actually came to light in many graves where it was used as a death mask. In its hands, as insignia, it holds a cup and a kind of scepter, the upper end of which replicates the head of the figure. Only upon closer examination the elaborate head with torso can be recognized behind the mask. Apparently, the shaping of the person who was not visible on the surface also was of great importance. Possibly an earthly representative of a Lambayeque deity is depicted here – perhaps even of Naymlap himself, the mythical founder of the Lambayeque dynasty.