Featured Artifacts: Chimú Culture, AD 900-1470
The Chimú developed in the heartland of their Moche ancestors on the north coast of Peru around AD 900. Developments at the site of Chan Chan are among the earliest recorded. Chan Chan would later become the capital of the Chimú state, or Kingdom of Chimor. At Chan Chan, influences from the Moche and the highland Huari culture merged to create a unique local art style. Chimú art is best known from elaborate clay friezes depicting sea animals and other maritime themes.Like the Moche, Chimú economy was based on irrigation agriculture, the exploitation of sea resources and trade and exchange. State powers were centralized at Chan Chan, an urban center that covered an area of more than 6 square km. Chan Chan was organized as a series of royal enclosure compounds or citadels, successively built by Chimú lords. Craftsmen lived and worked on the periphery of the urban center, while servants of the nobility lived next to citadels. The nobility lived inside the citadels, where they collected taxes, stored goods, hosted important visitors, and performed ceremonies. The city was exclusively concerned with administrative and royal activities, and peasants and fishermen were prohibited to live inside.The Chimú realm was expanded through military force, both terrestrial and naval. By AD 1370, the Chimú had conquered several neighbouring polities, including the Sicán. At its height, the Chimú state was the second largest empire in South America, stretching over 1,000 km from Ecuador to Lima. It was, however, short-lived and was conquered by the Incas in AD 1470.