The Powerful Priestess of Chornancap (VIDEO)

(Photo: Enigma Peru/Facebook)

Long after Peru’s famous Lady of Cao ruled over Chicama valley, there existed another powerful priestess who wielded religious and political power on Peru’s north coast.

We’ve talked a lot about the Lady of Cao and the power she wielded on Peru’s north coast, but there is another important priestess who is just as significant.

She is called the Priestess of Chornancap, with her facial reconstruction shown in the image above and the video below, came many generations after the Lady of Cao when the Moche civilization was long over.  She governed over the Lambayeque civilization on Peru’s northern coast.

Found in 2011 in today’s department called Lambayeque, the Priestess of Chornancap was a contemporary of both the nearby Chimu civilization as well as the Incas.  Her tomb, according to La Republica, has no reason to envy the Lady of Cao.  It is a resting place equally lavish and adorned with gold, silver, and murals to represent the sovereignty that this woman held.

The discovery of these powerful women calls into question the general assumption of gender roles in Pre-Columbian society in Peru.

It reveals the difficulty of generalizing Peru’s past, as there was (and still is) such diversity of cultures, civilizations, languages, and traditions.

The National Brunning Museum in Lambayeque currently holds the remains of the Priestess of Chornancap.  The museum is nearby the Huaca Chotuna where the lady’s tomb was discovered.  Both sites are featured in the video below, courtesy of Peru Sorprendente on Youtube.


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Mike Dreckschmidt

Mike grew up and eventually attended university in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He graduated in Integrative Leadership Studies with an emphasis in Urban and Regional Planning and has been a part of planning projects in three different countries. Mike’s passion is reading; he devours both literature and nonfiction. His favorite author is Peru’s own Julio Ramón Ribeyro.