Moche sculpture of a prisoner (100-800 AD) in the Larco Museum in Lima

Wonderful museum in Lima, showcasing the artistic highlights of the entire Precolombian history of Peru

another Moche sculpture, of a priest (100-800 AD)

The Larco Museum is a private museum established in 1926, by Rafael Larco Hoyle. Larco started with a small collection he received from his father, and continued with purchasing further private collections of illegally acquired artefacts, of the sort dreaded by present-day archaeologists. Apparently, it includes some 50,000 ceramic pots collected privately by a former Peruvian vice president, a room-full of over 2000 year old Paracas weavings, and a fabulous collection of funerary ornaments and headdresses. The entire Pre-Colombian Peruvian history is represented, and arranged thematically, which makes for an interesting and educational experience. There is a separate room with erotic pottery, demonstrating that not all pieces are necessarily of a high artistic standard – although eroticism was nothing strange for the ancient Peruvian societies.

Wonderful museum, with far too many pieces to show here, so these are just a few of my private favourites.

gilded copper headdresses, crowns and breast plates, Vicus culture (1250-100 BC)

one of the headdresses in detail

the crown in detail

golden funerary offerings, Chimu culture (1300-1532 AD) – note the time difference with the previous set

the golden brteastplate in detail

a turquise and gold breastplate of the Moche (100-800 AD)

double-bottle with two owls, Cupisnique culture (1250-100 BC)

Nasca vessel with animal, note the modelling and the painting (100-800 AD)

a so-called ‘portrait-vessel’, Moche (100-800 AD)

and another one – these vessels were true portraits of individual people

a Chancay vessel with a man (1300-1532 AD)

chuchimilco figure, a figure with raised hands found in pairs in funerary tombs, Chancay (1300-1532 AD)

a silver crown of the Chimu people (1300-1532 AD)

remains of a cloth, Moche-Huari (800-1300 AD)

a detail of the cloth to the left

a cloth with supernatural figures and trophy heads, Paracas (1250-100 BC)

a detail of the cloth to the left, with trophy head

a gilded copper mask on a corpse, Huari (800-1300 AD)

funerary bundle head, with cloth and metal, Chancay (1300-1532 AD)

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