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 famously 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.
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 famous Sun Gate of the Tiwanaku culture, a single-stone monolith. Alternatively, tunics and ceramics from both the Tiwanaku and Wari cultures of the Middle Horizon period showcase a similar god.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Staff God.|
- New Scientist article on the find in Patavilca
- Archaeology magazine article, with photo and illustration of the Staff God
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