Peruvian Pottery - Lima, Peru

June 12-14, 2007




Back in Cusco, we innocently wander into the Larco museum. I'm wondering why they would have added these obviously contemporary sculptures to a collection that was supposedly focused on pre-Inca ceramics? But then I read the description and am floored to discover that these pieces are almost 2000 years old! Perfectly burnished, decorated with delicate brush strokes of brown, orange, and white clay slip, and pit-fired with subtle shades of smoke and flame. Immediately, our recent dabbling in burnished low-fired pottery-making is put in perspective...

So when our flight north to Trujillo is cancelled and we are stranded for a day in Lima, we take the opportunity to visit the much larger Larco museum in the city and take in its enormous collection of pre-Inca ceramics.















Long before the Inca established their empire, starting as early as 8000 BC, Peru was home to many different cultures -- the Huaca Prieto, Supe, Salinar, Nasca, Moche, Huari, and Chachapoyas, to name just a few. Before we explored the fascinating museums in Cusco, Lima (and later, in Lambayeque), we had no clue these cultures existed. Early peoples were building huge adobe pyramids; drawing pictures of helmeted people and fantastic animals in the desert visible only from yet-to-be-invented airplanes; burying emperors in tombs filled with intricate gold armor and treasures; and, starting in 2000 BC, over four thousand years ago, hand building unbelievably beautiful ceramics.

We fell in love with this pottery. How can they possibly be so old? The perfectly sculpted llama drinking cups above, for instance, date from the Huari period (800 - 1300 AD); the cactus pot on the right is not from the 60's pop art movement, it's from the Moche culture (1 - 800 AD); and the strange little creature pot on the left, is from the Salinar culture, dating from 1250 - 1 BC. Unbelievable!







The Larco Museum's storehouse displays over 45,000 pots for your viewing amazement.














And the erotic Moche sculpture vessels, depicting the sexual activities of men and women, animals, and weirdly, skeletons...





Puerto Maldonado (plane) ►Lima