Homosexuality in ancient Peru
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Homosexuality in Ancient Peru
The most famous of these are the Moche and Chimu culture. The Moche culture was a highly organized, class-based society dominated Peru's northern coast for 800 years until about 800 A.D. Hundreds of pieces of ceramic survive from the Moche culture which depict gay sex, both oral and anal.
When the Spanish arrived they were amazed at the sexual practices of the natives. Viceroy Francisco de Toledo and the priests were aghast to find that not only was homosexuality accepted in several regions of the country but that the indigenous population also placed no particular importance on female chastity and made no prohibition against premarital sex.
Arrival of Spanish and Banning of Homosexuality
Once the Spanish arrived, this tolerant view of sexuality was suppressed. One of Peru's most famous colonial-era churchmen, Jesuit José de Acosta, wrote in 1590 that virginity, which is viewed with esteem and honor by all men, is deprecated by those barbarians as something vile... Except for the virgins consecrated to the sun or the Inca, all other women are considered of less value when they are virgin, and thus whenever possible they give themselves to the first man they find.
To put matters right, Toledo ordered that evangelized natives caught cohabiting outside church-sanctioned wedlock receive 100 lashes of the whip "to persuade these Indians to remove themselves from this custom so detrimental and pernicious".
Toledo also issued several decrees aimed at creating near total segregation of the sexes in public. Violations were punishable by 100 lashes and two years' service in pestilential state hospitals. Under the Inquisition, brought to Peru in 1569, homosexuals could be burned at the stake.
Destruction of Ceramics
In Spanish colonial Peru, huacos eróticos or erotic ceramics, like most indigenous icons, were smashed, Terrazos said.
In the 1570s, Viceroy Francisco de Toledo and his clerical advisors were obsessed with eliminating sodomy, masturbation and a common social practice that the Quechua-speaking populace referred to in terms that translate roughly as ``trial marriage.
In spite of this organized effort to destroy these artifacts, many have survived to the present day. For decades, the huacos eróticos were locked away from the public, accessible only to an elite group of Peruvian social scientists. Occasionally and reluctantly they were made available to select foreign researchers from the United States and Europe.
A person couldn't talk about them because they were considered huacos pornográficos - pornographic. They were known as huacos prohibidos (prohibited ceramics) because of the taboo imposed by the Christian religion that men have sex only for procreation and that women do not experience sexual pleasure.
Today, exhibitions of these ceramics, running the full gamut of sexual practices, are popular attractions in some of Peru's finest museums.