The cuchimilco figures are unglazed terracotta figurines, created between 1000 and 1450 AD by the Chancay culture. These sculptures were modeled after humans with stocky bodies, a flat head, raised arms and short legs. The Chancay artisans created ceramics that are quite distinctive in form and decoration that were finely painted and molded with specific decorative details carefully added by hand. A real tour-de-force representation of cubist art in ancient times. The elegance, simplicity, and vigorous geometrical volumes of this masterpiece are worthy to stand between other cubist sculptures by Picasso, Braque or Brancusi.
The cuchimilco figures are often created or found in pairs, male and female, which indicates the importance of divine duality. Also, the figures are frontal facing and symmetrical with both arms extended out or up, which indicate a welcoming posture. Archeologists commonly find cuchimilco in burial sites of graves of the deceased, specifically those of nobility, which has led to the belief that the importance of meaning behind these figures is that they ward off bad spirits or energies.
With little information on the Chancay culture due to a lack of written records, the cuchimilco helps gain some insight on this fascinating culture.