World accommodating cult

Its Black and White Portal entrance is flanked on either side by a single column; one carries an image of an eagle, the other a hawk representing the female and male respectively in a typical Chavin example of duality.The New Temple also contains the 2.5 metre tall Tello Obelisk which shows two caymans and snakes and may represent the creation myth.

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The political structures of the Chavin, then, unfortunately remain mysterious, but they did create a lasting artistic legacy which would influence almost all subsequent Andean civilizations.

Chavin art is full of imagery of felines (especially jaguars), snakes, and raptors, as well as supernatural beings, often with ferocious-looking fangs.

The most important Chavin religious site was Chavin de Huantar in the Mosna Valley, which was in use for over five centuries and became a pilgrimage site famed throughout the Andean region.

The site is significantly placed at the meeting point of two rivers - a typical Andean tradition - the Mosna and Wacheksa.

The figures mix human features with jaguar fangs and claws and they wear snake headdresses symbolising spiritual vision.

The 4.5 metre tall Lanzón monolith takes the form of a traditional Andean foot plough and stands deep within the labyrinthine interior of the Old Temple.

The Staff Deity was another popular subject in Chavin sculpture, ceramics, and textiles.

The painted cotton textiles of the Chavin are, in fact, the earliest such examples from any Andean culture and take the form of hangings, belts, and clothes.

An important feature of the cult was a priesthood of shamans who would put themselves in trances via hallucinatory plants, such as coca leaves and certain types of cacti and mushrooms.

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