Staff God

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Staff God from Tiwanaku, Bolivia

The Staff God is a major deity in Andean cultures. Usually pictured holding a staff in each hand, with fanged teeth and splayed and clawed feet, his other characteristics are unknown, although he is often pictured with snakes in his headdress or clothes. He is known as Viracocha in the Incan religion.

The oldest known depiction of the Staff God was found in 2003 on some broken gourd fragments in a burial site in the Pativilca River Valley (Norte Chico region) and carbon dated to 2250 BCE. This makes it the oldest image of a god to be found in the Americas.[1]

The Staff God, one of the most important iconographical elements in central Andean archaeology, is prominent in both portable and fixed art. A form of the staff god, for example, takes a central role in the Sun Gate of the Tiwanaku culture, a single-stone monolith. Tunics and ceramics from both the Tiwanaku and Wari cultures of the Middle Horizon period showcase a similar god.

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  1. ^ Hannah Hoag (15 April 2003). "Oldest evidence of Andean religion found". Nature. doi:10.1038/news030414-4.

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