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Decoding art: the Staff God relief from Chavín de Huántar (part 1)

Video transcript

- [Narrator] The steely shows the god holding staffs composed of numerous curling forms. Beneath the god's hands, we see upside down and sideways faces, and the staffs terminate at the top in two snake heads with protruding tongues. The god's belt is a compressed abstracted face with two snakes extending from where the ears should be, perhaps substituting the snakes for hair and turning the face with its snake hair into a belt. The god's hands and feet have talons rather than human fingernails, evoking felines and birds of prey.