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Stirrup-handled Cupinisque ceramic vase 1250BC Larco Museum Collection

Cupisnique was a pre-Columbian culture which flourished from ca. 1000 to 200 BC[1] along what is now Peru's Pacific Coast. The culture had a distinctive style of adobe clay architecture but shared artistic styles and religious symbols with the later Chavin culture which arose in the same area at a later date.[2] The relationship between Chavin and Cupisnique is not well understood, and the names are sometimes used interchangeably. For instance, the scholar Alana Cordy-Collins treats as Cupisnique a culture lasting from 1000 – 200 BC, which are the dates some associate with the Chavin culture.[3] Izumi Shimada calls Cupisnique a possible ancestor of Mochica (Moche) culture with no mention of Chavin.[4] Anna C. Roosevelt refers to "the coastal manifestation of the Chavin Horizon ...dominated by the Cupisnique style".[5]

Researchers have named as "Collud", a Cupisnique adobe temple discovered in 2008 in the Lambayeque valley. The temple includes imagery of the "spider god", thought to be associated with rainfall, hunting and warfare. The spider god image combines a spider's neck and head, with the mouth of a large cat and the beak of a bird.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "'Spider God' Temple Found in Peru", José Orozco, National Geographic News, October 29, 2008
  3. ^ "Archaism or Tradition?: The Decapitation Theme in Cupisnique and Moche Iconography", Alana Cordy-Collins, Latin American Archaeology, 3(3), 1992
  4. ^ "Pampa Grande and the Mochica Culture", Izumi Shimada, University of Texas Press, 1994
  5. ^ The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas: North America, ed. Bruce G. Trigger, Wilcomb E. Washburn, Richard E. W. Adams, Frank Salomon, Murdo J. MacLeod, Stuart B. Schwartz, Cambridge University Press, 1996

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