Archaeological objects offer outstanding opportunities to explore the way people conceived life in past ages. Their study demonstrates that subjects such as fertility and death, myths, rituals such as marriage, and the origins of the universe, are embedded in everyday artefacts as they have always been part of daily human life. Even when creating objects for individual use, people have found imaginative and ingenious ways to represent and convey a message, a narrative that is part of our personal and social identity. For those reasons, the charms and amulets presented in this outstanding volume holds secrets: memories of actions, feelings, places as well as sacred representations. Objects used as offerings are full of life: the warrior recalls his heroism during his long mortal journey; the deceased who travels to the other world well-equipped with objects of power arrives satisfied and bestows fertility and well-being on his descendants in return. The choice of materials is a fundamental aspect of such objects; metals, shells, fired clay and imperishable gold each speak to specific meanings, and are able to express extraordinary religious ideas.
This book, drawing on ancient Ecuadorian charms and amulets, introduces us to this world of magic, life and death.
Christian Mesia Montenegro is the director of the Museo de Arte Precolombino Casa del Alabado in Quito, Ecuador. Former director of the Museo Nacional de Arqueologia, Antropologia e Historia del Peru and the Museo Nacional de Chavin, he has conducted archaeological research in Peru and Guatemala.