On October 5, 2023, an extraordinary event unfolded at the official residence of the Ambassador of Peru in Wassenaar. The Embassy of Peru in the Netherlands, in collaboration with The Arts Society of The Hague, orchestrated a memorable evening that left a lasting imprint on all those fortunate enough to attend. The star of the night was none other than Dr. Edward de Bock, a true global authority in the realm of Moche art, archaeology, and Peruvian pre-Columbian history.
Dr. Edward de Bock’s lifelong passion for archaeology and Peruvian pre-Columbian civilizations was ignited at a tender age of nine when he stumbled upon an article in his older brother’s encyclopedia. Fast forward to the present day, and his dedication to this field has resulted in an unrivaled expertise that has made him a global authority in the realm of Moche art.
Her Excellency Marisol Agüero Colunga, the Ambassador of Peru, warmly welcomed a select group of attendees. Among the distinguished guests were the General Director of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias and his wife Patricia, the Ambassador of Greece Caterina Ghini, members of The Arts Society of The Hague, the visiting Chairwoman of the Nerja Arts Society in Spain, Helen Sijsling, credited Arts Society Lecturer Jane Choy, among others. Special thanks to the staff of the Peruvian Embassy and to Mrs. Bente Nielsen, Board Member and Special Events Manager of the Arts Society of The Hague.
Ambassador Agüero Colunga’s opening remarks set the stage for what was to be an evening of intellectual enlightenment and inspiring insights into the world of Moche art. Dr. Bock then took the stage, captivating his audience from the very beginning with his profound knowledge and contagious enthusiasm.
The presentation on Moche art was hailed as “one of the most complete” ever witnessed, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Dr. Bock’s expertise and captivating presentation style brought the intricacies of Moche art to life. He went into topics such as the cosmic order and regeneration, remarkable archaeological discoveries, and ongoing excavations that continue to reveal new facets of this ancient civilization.
Dr. Bock’s lecture explored the significance of various elements in Moche art, including the involvement of women in regenerating civilization, the roles of priests, and the symbolism of animals like pumas, snakes, and catfishs. He also highlighted the concept of the past, present, and future coexisting in a continuous cycle within Moche art. Questions, applause, the night was too short for such an abundance of knowledge, passion and dedication; the audience participated in every word and the fascination for Moche art became collective.
As Dr. Bock spoke, his audience was transported to a world where the rich history and symbolism of Moche art seemed to come alive before their eyes. Images and drawings of unique handmade portrait-pottery, delicate gold masks and impressive archeological remains like the tomb of the Lord of Sipan -a Moche king-, expertly presented by the speaker, provided a visual feast, further enriching the experience.
The evening was punctuated with questions and applause, as the audience was left wanting more of Dr. Bock’s wisdom. The fascination for Moche art became a shared collective experience, transcending the boundaries of time and space.
His Excellency Andrea Perugini, Chairman of The Arts Society of The Hague, offered profound words of gratitude to Dr. Bock for his unwavering dedication to his field, who managed to captivate the audience and who skilfully transmitted his passion and engagement for the Moche Art and culture in Peru. He also extended his appreciation to Ambassador Agüero Colunga for orchestrating the conference, the exceptional warn hospitality and perfect organization in her beautiful residence and recognized Diplomat Magazine for its continuous support to The Arts Society of The Hague. As a token of appreciation, a complimentary membership in the association was presented to the magazine’s publisher.
Following the lecture, lively conversations continued during a reception that lasted for hours. Guests had the opportunity to savor the delights of Peruvian cuisine, complemented by the iconic Pisco Sour cocktail. Many of the distinguished attendees left the residence expressing their strong desire to visit Peru to appreciate its museums, temples, and other Pre-Columbian archaeological remains.
In the end, the conference on Moche Art delivered by Dr. Edward de Bock will be remembered as a landmark event in the intersection of art, history, and archaeology. It was a night when an eminence in the field, driven by passion and dedication, illuminated the profound beauty and mystery of Moche art for all to see.
About Dr Edward de Bock:
Born in Harlem Dr Edward de Bock has dedicated his whole life to research on Pre-Columbian Civilizations, mainly Moche Culture, which flourished in northern Peru during the Early Intermediate period. He obtained a Bachelor degree in Art History and Classical Archeology, a Master’s degree in Art History and Anthropology of the Pre-Columbian era of South America, Mesoamerica and the Prehistory of Europe and a PhD from Leiden University.
He has worked in many important cultural institutions among them the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam, Paul Getty Museum in Santa Monica, California and Professor at the Saisbury Research Unit from Salisbury Center of Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, UK. Dr de Bock is author of numerous publications among them Human Sacrifices for Cosmic Order and Regeneration. Structure and meaning in Moche iconography, Peru.