Museo Larco Lima PERU TOUR Review – Pre-Columbian Treasures

Museo Larco Lima PERU
Nazca Pottery

Ascending the flower-lined gentle slope path to the museum’s front doors, you are readied for what is to follow. The taxi you took through typical urban hubbub to get there is quickly erased.

Quickly Awestruck

From the other three sides of an inside patio with benches, the museums treasures are attractively displayed in dim light. You are quickly awestruck by the high quality of each piece. They seem almost too good to be true. Textiles from Inca times are brightly colored. The paint on bright Nazca pottery seems recently applied and like it might still be wet. They are ancient, Pre-Columbian and without sign of dust or crack. Beyond the collections on view, there are tourable storehouses of perhaps orders of magnitude more pieces in this same pristine condition.

Have no worries. These are real and, without hyperbole, truly treasures of world heritage.

Visit Museo Larco Twice

For the first-time Peru visitor the only question might be on whether it is better to visit Museo Larco before or after your tour of the country.

Perhaps the best recommendation would be to bookend any tour of a month or longer with a visit to Museo Larco – a sort of visual cliff notes on Peru’s amazing pre-Columbian cultures.

Museo Larco Lima PERU
Exhibit notes explain this image dates it as after the Spanish conquest-- as the feline God is being overpowered by a man
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Huari art featuring geometric patterns with black lines (800 - 1300 AD)
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Chimú clothing, from a culture conquered and absorbed by the Incans
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Inca vessel for water worship

How interesting that the exquisite turquoise figurines you see are from the “city of fleas”, Piqillakta, where today’s tour through the ruins mainly gives you a glimpse to the massive walls and population it housed, and not to its artifacts.

While you still may be puzzling over the source and meaning of the Nazca lines, here you see so many pieces of pottery with their distinctive bright colors and black lined geometric patterns, somehow with affect so reminiscent of the doodles below that you see on a Nazca plane tour.

Museo Larco Lima PERU
Jewelry worn by the elite
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Moche pottery depicting duality, a concept akin to yin yang (1 - 800 AD)
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Huari culture figurines from Pikillaqta
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Gold headdresses worn by powerful in Moche culture (1 - 800 AD)
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Exhibit notes decipher how the imagery here portray various religious beliefs
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Gold nose ornaments, placed on cartilage between nostrils
Silver Chimu nobility ornaments, 1300 - 1532 AD

You may have been impressed by the ancient fragments of clothing preserved with the Juanita de Arequipa mummy. These Inca textiles however look like they just came out of the dry cleaners!

When you see the many pottery designs emphasizing Yin Yang type duality, you may also be reminded of Pukara tour guides recounting the migrations from Asia that came to Peru.

Museo Larco Lima PERU
Depicts readying the dead for burial
Museo Larco Lima PERU
A fascinating explanation that the warrior who was able to pull the hair of another is the winner. The vanquished is then stripped and readied for sacrifice. (Moche 1 - 800 AD)
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Nazca ceramic
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Camelid fibers in patchwork design from Nazca- Huari Culture (800 - 1300 AD)
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Typical coffee bean shaped eyes in Vicus Culture (1250 BC - 1 AD) and wearing large ear plugs, a sign of high rank
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Silver rattle knives, a musical instrument of Chimu Culture (1300 AD - 1532 AD)

Jewelry lovers will likely see pieces they would love to wear themselves. By the time you get to the impressive galleries of gold and silver you may have already lost your ogle power. Nearby there is a swank restaurant on the grounds that truly does look inviting, though not cheap, nor sampled by this time-pressed writer/photographer team.

Museo Larco Lima PERU
Erotica in Museo Larco Collection
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Erotica in Museo Larco Collection
Museo Larco Lima PERU
Erotica in Larco Museum Collection

The museum’s collection of Pre-Columbian erotica is said to be somewhat famous. This is explicit as sex can get, but from this writer’s vantage point, the signs explaining that sex didn’t mean the same thing to these peoples truly comes across. Sex- yes. Erotic-no. It’s interesting, but not titillating. But how can you not stop in?

When:

Daily 9 – 10 PM (Check website for earlier closing time on holidays)

Where:

Avenida Bolívar 1515, Pueblo Libre 
Lima 21 - Peru 

 

Tickets:

S/ 30 (discounts for seniors, students, children)

For more information visit the Museo Larco website.

Click here for more Low Season Travel:  Peru Tour stories

Click here to read more Picture this Post travel stories by Amy Munice with photography by Peter Kachergis.

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