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4 November 2012 / leggypeggy

Larking around the Larco Museum in Lima

Peruvian pottery

A jovial-looking fellow

Poor John is a whizz at researching the places we ought to visit wherever we go, so I tend to let him plan our itinerary on most of our sightseeing days.

Peru was no exception and the Larco Museum in Lima was high on his list, so we set out one morning by taxi. It was a longish and expensive (by Lima standards) ride via the suburb of Miraflores, but the driver was pleased that we were going to this amazing showplace.

Brought together by Rafael Larco Hoyle, the collection first went on display in 1926 in another part of the country.

Larco (although as a descendant of my own line of Hoyles in North America, I prefer the Hoyle tag, which was his mother’s) was passionate about archaeological research and preserving Peruvian artifacts from diverse cultures.

His enthusiasm was influenced by his father, who began acquiring northern Peruvian pre-Columbian pottery in 1903 when the young Larco was a toddler.

Ancient Peruvian earrings

Old gold and turquoise Peruvian earrings, about 3 inches in diameter

Like his father, young Larco bought collections—especially of pottery. But he also began extensive explorations and excavations in remote parts of Peru. Apparently, his family and friends entered into the chase and enjoyed taking part in fieldwork. So much so that today the museum has more than 40,000 complete pottery vessels and thousands of metal, textile, wood and other artifacts.

I was gobsmacked to see all of the Larco treasures. They are beautiful, diverse, well-displayed and awe-inspiring. The sheer volume of pottery and gold adornments is overwhelming. And the pieces cover at least six or seven different ancient cultures. It was a big bonus to be able to photograph the exhibits because the Larco Museum has fine examples of works that I couldn’t photograph in many other museums in Peru.

Larco Museum storerooms

One of many storerooms

Peruvian face pottery

Touching pottery faces

It was also a special treat to get a look inside the museum’s many storage rooms. These spaces hold countless, floor-to-ceiling glass cases of pottery pieces. Many depict the actual faces of men who were most likely sacrificed in ancient times. Each face is different, and all are beautiful and heartbreaking.

There’s also a large collection of erotic pottery, with some quite playful and many having sassy facial expressions. These displays no doubt contribute to the fact that the Larco Museum is one of Peru’s most visited tourist attractions. I took quite a few pics of the erotic specimens, but they’ll have to wait for the sealed section of the blog. 🙂

The museum structure and its beautiful gardens are worthy in their own right too. The exhibits are housed in an 18th century vice royal mansion that was built over a 7th century pre-Colombian pyramid.

Poor John and I decided to splash out on a meal in the deluxe restaurant there. He had grilled scallops (nine on a plate) and I had an exotic salad. Not cheap, but delicious, and I resisted taking photos of the meal itself.

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Leave a Comment
  1. Rhonda / Nov 4 2012 10:29 am

    What an amazing place! Thanks for sharing it. And maybe the showing of photos suitable for a sealed section should be combined with the Pisco Sour afternoon… 🙂


    • leggypeggy / Nov 4 2012 12:14 pm

      Brilliant idea, Rhonda. We’re back it January.


  2. Rhonda Vang / Nov 4 2012 1:16 pm

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for an invitation then! 🙂


    • leggypeggy / Nov 4 2012 10:02 pm

      Dubbo’s not far, so it should be easy to arrange. 🙂


  3. Ken Berry / Nov 5 2012 5:51 am

    Ah yes, I remember it well, including the rather interesting erotic collection. The things you can do in clay!!


    • leggypeggy / Nov 7 2012 9:59 am

      Ah, yes! South America is full of lots of surprises.


  4. Ken Berry / Nov 5 2012 5:53 am

    But did you go to the huge gold museum out near the US Embassy in Lima… It is fabulous…


    • leggypeggy / Nov 7 2012 9:58 am

      Bummer. We never got to that museum and now I can’t remember why. But we did see the wonderful one in Bogota, Colombia.


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