moch

Ancient Moche Female Ruler Is Given A Face

We do not know what she called herself, but today she is known as the Lady of Cao. She lived and died in northern Peru 1,700 years ago. We know she was a high-status woman of the Moche culture, because she was buried in a tomb in a pyramid, with a crown and surrounded by gold and copper artifacts. The tomb also suggests that Lady of Cao may have been a warrior: she was buried a number of weapons, including two massive war clubs, and twenty-three spear-throwers!

Modern science has revealed that the Lady of Cao was in her twenties when she died, likely of childbirth or complications following childbirth.  Her feet, legs and face were tattooed with magic symbols of serpents and spiders. And now, science has revealed to us her face.

black red

Moche silver nose ornament decorated with gold intertwined serpents, dated to 390 to 450 CE. Found in Peru, the nose ornament is currently located in the Met.

From the source:

Nose ornaments made of precious metals were worn by the elite in Peru beginning in the middle of the first millennium B.C.; they remained in fashion for over a thousand years, until about 700 A.D. Among the Moche people of the north coast, they were an essential part of royal costume. This handsome crescent is made of silver and came from the site of Loma Negra in the Piura Valley. It is so big it would have covered the wearer’s lower face when suspended from the nasal septum. It has a gold border of intertwined “eared” serpents, their profile faces with toothy mouths and split tongues appearing at the top on either side of the ornament. Attached to the serpent bodies with small pieces of gold wire are numerous gold disks, which would have moved and glittered with the slightest movement of the wearer. The “eared” serpent was a mythological creature often depicted in ancient Peruvian art with feline characteristics such as whiskers and fangs.

Moche metalworkers often combined two metals on fancy ornaments. In addition to the aesthetic appeal, joining gold and silver may have had symbolic meaning, perhaps expressing ideas of duality and complementarity.

Part One | Part Two


When did you first know?

The question is a simple one in theory, and it’s also one to which Sherlock has given quite a lot of thought in the past, most notably when he was in his depressed moods and wanted to torture himself with the more wonderful images of John that he had stored up in his Mind Palace.  It’s no longer torture to remember those times, to picture those small smiles and shared giggles that were so frequent early on in their acquaintance, but there is still a dull ache that resonates within him at the thought they had wasted so much time.

He flicks through his favorite memories now, a quick perusal before settling on one that seems so very inconsequential but that he has never been able to shake away.  John is watching him, that same impossibly soft look in his eyes, a look that Sherlock still can’t believe is directed towards him.

Sherlock pulls his bottom lip between his teeth briefly and then takes a deep breath, settling his hands on the arms of his chair again.  “The first time I knew was the day we met with Sebastian.”

John frowns.  “Sebastian?”

“Sebastian Wilkes from the bank, you remember.”

John’s eyes light up.  “Oh, the Blink Banker case!”

Sherlock rolls his eyes and is on the verge of making a comment about how John really needs to work on his titles, but John’s expression suddenly shifts, the light in his eyes fading and his lips turning downward.

“That long ago?” he asks, and there’s something so unexpectedly sad in his voice, a quiet note that squeezes Sherlock’s heart.

He clears his throat.  “Well.  Yes.  I was–it was quite early on in our…friendship that I realized I was…”

Falling in love with you.  The words won’t form even though he’s thought them so many times that it’s become an integral part of who he is.  But neither of them have said it out loud yet, a fact which hadn’t really seemed important until this moment.  

There hadn’t been any dramatic declarations, no emotional outbursts.  It had been simple, in the end; John had come home with the shopping, heavy bags hanging from each hand, and Sherlock had turned from his place by the window (where he’d been watching as John trudged down the street, head bent against the cold).  And John had met his eyes and given him that smile, the one he frequently used to hide behind when he was feeling more emotionally tired than usual, and Sherlock had decided right then and there.  In three strides he was across the room, and it turned out that deciding to kiss John Watson had been the simplest thing he’d ever done.

He remembers the way John’s mouth, so cold from the biting chill outside, had warmed beneath his lips, his tongue; the way John’s shock had melted almost immediately, fading into heartfelt reciprocation as the groceries spilled to the floor at their feet and his hands, free of their burden, slid into Sherlock’s hair. From there, the bedroom was only a few stumbling steps away, and neither of them had looked back since.

Saying the words simply hadn’t seemed necessary after everything they had told each other with their bodies.  All of the longing and frustration and emotion had come pouring out of them in such a physical shape that they had never stopped to really define it with words.  Or perhaps, Sherlock thinks now, they had both been too afraid to give them voice.

“Sherlock.”

John’s hand touches his own where it’s curled on the armrest, and Sherlock is startled out of his memories.  He realizes he must have been silent for some time because John has moved, is now perched on the very edge of his seat, his knees nearly knocking against Sherlock’s.

“There you are,” he says, smiling softly, his head tilting as he searches Sherlock’s face for clues as to where his mind might have taken him.

Sherlock lets out a breath and flips his hand over, catching John’s fingers in his own.  “I’m sorry, I was…distracted.”

“You all right?”

“Yes.  Yes, I’m fine.  Where was I?”

John rests his elbows on his knees but keeps hold of Sherlock’s hand, folding it in between both of his own.  “The day we went to see Sebastian.”

“Right.  Yes.  It was before that, though, before the case began.”

John’s thumb rubs a warm, smooth line back and forth across Sherlock’s palm, and it makes him want to close his eyes and just exist in this moment, a feeling he can’t ever remember having had before he’d let John Watson touch him.

“I don’t remember,” John says, sounding apologetic, which is ridiculous. Sherlock supposes he must think they’re talking about some significant moment in their lives, something that should stand out.

He shakes his head.  “No, you wouldn’t.  It was…you had just come back to the flat.  You’d gone out to get the shopping.”

John’s confusion seems to increase, and he opens his mouth, but Sherlock goes on before he can say anything.

“You were in a bit of a state,” he says, and he can’t help the fondness that colors his tone.  “Apparently the chip-and-pin machine had been giving you some trouble.”

Realization dawns slowly across the lines of John’s face, first in the widening of his eyes and then in the shaping of his lips into a small “oh.”

“You…that was when you knew?” he asks, and he sounds so disbelieving that Sherlock laughs.

“That was when I began to know, yes.”

John shakes his head slowly, seemingly bewildered.  “But…why?  I was such a grumpy arse that day–”

“It was cute,” Sherlock says before he can stop himself.

John’s eyebrows rise so high on his forehead that Sherlock almost can’t see them beneath his fringe, which is quite a feat considering the length of John’s hair.  Sherlock’s cheeks flood with heat, and when John opens his mouth, presumably to give him the teasing of a lifetime, he glares as fiercely as he can.

“Not.  A.  Word,” he says through his teeth.

John’s mouth shuts with an audible click, but his eyes are wide, and he pulls his lips between his teeth in a clear effort to restrain his laughter.  Sherlock continues to glare at him, but it doesn’t seem to be having any effect whatsoever, and only a few seconds pass before John can no longer contain himself.  He breaks down into uncontrollable giggles, leaning forward to press his forehead to the back of Sherlock’s hand, which he still has a hold on.

Sherlock sighs and falls back against his chair in a dramatic fashion.  “Oh, go on then.”

John shakes his head, still bent double.  “Cute,” he gasps through his laughter. “I didn’t even know you knew that word!”

Sherlock rolls his eyes, but John’s giddiness is infectious, and, try as he might, he can’t quite keep his own face straight.  “Well, you should’ve been recording it because I’m never saying it again,” he says, but the sour effect he’s going for is lost in the twist of his lips.

John straightens up, tugging at Sherlock’s hand insistently.  “Oh, god, c’mere,” he says.  His eyes are damp, and his smile is so huge he can hardly kiss properly, but Sherlock really doesn’t mind, not when John is climbing clumsily into his lap, his hands warm on either side of his face, tilting it back to get better access to his mouth.

“I can’t believe you think I’m cute,” John whispers, and Sherlock pinches his side in retaliation.  John’s answering laugh bubbles up against Sherlock’s mouth, and Sherlock’s hand curls around the back of his skull, holding him there.  John’s lips turn soft and pliant, his smile fading with a soft noise as Sherlock’s tongue slicks into his mouth.

He’s lost in it almost instantly, in the press of John’s body, the heat of his hands through the thin fabric of Sherlock’s shirt, the feeling of John’s hair between his fingers.  His mind goes quiet except for the thought of more, and his hips push up, seeking blindly, wanting

“Mm, wait,” John murmurs, and his hands curl around Sherlock’s shoulders, stilling him.  “Not yet.”

“Hmm?”  His brain is too weighted with lust to say anything more coherent, a fact that would have horrified him only a week ago, before he knew what it felt like to have John Watson in his arms.

John pulls away slightly, sitting back against Sherlock’s thighs.  Sherlock attempts to follow, but John catches his chin in one hand, his thumb sliding across his lower lip, causing tingles to erupt down Sherlock’s spine.

“We had a deal, remember?” John says.  His eyes remain fixed on Sherlock’s mouth for another moment before he lifts them to meet Sherlock’s hooded gaze. “You tell me yours, and I tell you mine.”  He smiles.  “My turn.”


Part One | Part Two

OKAY so that ended up being longer and a bit…more than I meant for it to, but there you have it.  I’d like to go ahead and say that this was rather inspired by @thespiritualmultinerd‘s comment on this post here.  After reading that I couldn’t get this idea out of my head, so you have them to thank for this.  :D

I guess there will now be a part three because I can never seem to do anything easily lmao.  Thanks for reading, friends, I hope it was worth the little wait.  <3 Just tags below the cut.  I apologize if I left anyone out.  <3

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