Museos - Museums, Lima
We only had one night in Lima before transiting to Cusco and our hotel manager suggested we visit the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera. We were very pleased with our visit as this is a small museum and there were very few people. We did not choose to hire a guide so we just spent a few hours browsing the museum on our own.
There are three areas of this museum:
1.) The storage area where they supposedly have the largest and most complete collection of pre-Columbian artefacts and relics in the world. There are so many pieces of pottery stacked from the floor to the ceiling that it gets a bit overwhelming and the pieces eventually started blending together.
2.) The museum part, where they have exhibits of pottery, art, weapons, jewelry, etc from the Incas, Mochica, Nazca and Chimu people. This was very organized and presented in several different languages. I highly recommend this museum to get a good overview of Peruvian pre-Columbian history before exploring the ruins and other cities of Peru.
3.) Separate from the rest of the museum is a small building containing erotic pottery. The pieces were entertaining and not vulgar but definitely give you a good idea what people were up to even in pre-Columbian times!
There is a restaurant on property which has a delicious looking menu but we didn't eat there because we didn't have enough cash. It was closing up and they would not accept our credit cards.
The museum’s storage area is open to the public. Room after room was filled with floor to ceiling shelves of pottery—it is so big that it has to have “Exit” arrows on the walls. I asked a staff person how much was in there, and she said, “40,000 pieces.” They are grouped by style—some rooms were all Mochica faces; others were animals or birds.
If you like pottery, take a walk through the storage rooms.
Rafael Larco Hoyle founded this museum in 1926, when he was only 25 years old. The collection is housed in an 18th Century mansion with nice gardens, and it makes a beautiful setting. The "good stuff" is inside, though--the collection is wonderful, and my brain was on overload trying to take it all in.
The museum has some outstanding pottery, along with some very old woven fabrics, silver items, and a “gold room” with headdresses and entire shirts covered in gold. I especially liked the Mochica pottery--the faces on the figurines were all individuals.
I had never heard of a Quipu, and this display was really interesting. The Incas used Quipus to record information. Knots represent units, and the color of the thread and structure of the knots tell you what was being counted. The Incas had special officials to make these recordings, and they used the decimal system.
Admission is 30 Sol, which is around $10 U.S. (and worth it!)
This museum is nothing like those big, impersonal and bureaucratic museums that are more of a cold company trying to make profit rather than an artistic and cultural center. The Larco Museum is warm and welcoming, probably because it is the story of four generations of art lovers who have devoted their entire lives to creating an exquisite place to share their passion and to extend their family to all the visitors who, on their way to discover the world like me, get the chance to stop by their museum. When I first saw this place, I immediately felt home. The mansion seemed really impressive to me, but nothing like those cold lifeless pedant buildings. It was more like the sensation of entering a familial mansion, all painted white and where you expect giggles and children playing hide and seek in the garden. It even smelled of it. The museum itself exudes the wisdom of an Ancient site and imposes some kind of silent respect. I suddenly felt at a loss for words, nearly voiceless and humble while confronted to the finest collection of pre-Columbian art I had ever seen. Every single object is lit in its own particular way, making each one of them really special and unique.
There have been many travel experiences for me before, many places I have seen, many people I have met. There were the sites and the grounds you step in for the first time. The impression you have when your eye can no longer focus because you just want to see everything. The impatience you feel while waiting to see and learn more about the place. Because in the end all that you remember from your traveling are your emotions and feelings. I have then decided to tell you about the most inspirational experience I have had while traveling Peru, which is the Larco Museum.
When I first saw this place, I immediately felt home. The mansion seemed really impressive to me, but nothing like those cold lifeless pedant buildings. It was more like the sensation of entering a familial mansion, all painted white and where you expect giggles and children playing hide and seek in the garden. It even smelled of it. The colonial mansion overlooks wonderful gardens which seem to have been directly extracted from a painting of Claude Monet. The whole place appeals to all your senses and goes beyond just a “pretty” garden. The mesmerizing whiteness of the building is qualified by the blend of the various colors coming from all the flowers, the cactus and the birds and butterflies gently fluttering around them. There, I got to see a hummingbird for the first time. You get easily stricken and overwhelmed by the smell of bougainvilleas, orchids, geraniums, blue plumbagos, not to forget the famous “madre selva”, a typical flower from Peru, the smell of which basically blows your mind away.
After having wandered in the garden, at the entrance, I was welcomed by the melodious singing of Juan Diego, a canary named after the great Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez. The entrance is a typical South American patio, in the middle of which stands a lucuma tree, which gives those juicy Peruvian fruits I enjoyed so much.
The museum itself exudes the wisdom of an Ancient site and imposes some kind of silent respect. I suddenly felt at a loss for words, nearly voiceless and humble while confronted to the finest collection of pre-Columbian art I had ever seen. The atmosphere took my breath away; I think the dim lightening helped me feel in harmony with the pieces of art. Indeed, while walking through the gallery, every single object is lit in its own particular way, making each one of them really special and unique. An experience in the Larco Museum can not be complete without a final glass of wine in the Café del Museo, enjoying the gardens and the comfortable white sofas.
This museum is nothing like those big, impersonal and bureaucratic museums that are more of a cold company trying to make profit rather than an artistic and cultural center. The Larco Museum is warm and welcoming, probably because it is the story of four generations of art lovers who have devoted their entire lives to creating an exquisite place to share their passion and to extend their family to all the visitors who, on their way to discover the world like me, get the chance to stop by their museum.
This experience inspired me, not only because the place is amazing but mainly because I will always remember all the sensations it gave me, it was just a human experience.
Although my ticket for this museum tour said that no photography was permitted, it turned out that photos without flash were permitted everywhere in this museum, which contained nicely arranged and well lit pottery from various eras of Peruvian native culture.
I am not particularly into in pottery, but the guide made it quite interesting and explained it clearly. Bob and I both had quite a few good pictures.
Founded in 1926, the Larco Museum showcases chronological galleries providing an excellent overview on 3000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history.
Photo 2 is a portrait head from about 800 A.D.
Photo 3 has in the back on the left a 1300 - 1532 A.D. Imperial Epoch
Double-bodied spout and bridge bottle
Photo 4 - the black dog on the left is Mochica. 1 - 800 A.D. Apogee Epoch Crested animal
Monday to Sunday: 09:00 - 18:00 hrs.
(Daily including holidays)
- General admission: S/. 30.00
Senior citizens S/. 25.00 (65 and older)
Students and children under 15 years old S/. 15.00
No cameras were allowed through the gates of this museum - we had to leave them on the bus. We went through some gates and down a path to an kind of fortress looking place.
The top of the museum had displays of armor and weapons, which some people thought was the best part, although we didn't linger there. There was a long flight of stairs down into the vault where the gold was. The lady in the scooter had to stay at the top.
The guide explained that these objects were bought from grave robbers and no proper archeological work was done, nor were they displayed in a manner that would be easy to understand the time progression. She did a good job of overcoming those deficiencies. Of course she couldn't do anything about the fact that much of this section of the museum is displaying fakes.
When we left there was an area with booths selling souvenirs on each side of the walkway to the museum. I bought a book about gold and some postcards at the booths. The pictures I have of the gold were from the previous museum
Monday to Friday of 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Monday to Sunday of 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
1st January, 1st May, 28 th July, 25 th December.
Adults S/. 33.00
Children under 11 S/. 16.00
Multilingual: French / English / German / Spanish
While traveling Lima I had the occasion to visit this amazing museum and I must admit it is one of the best I´ve ever seen. After a really funny journey by “combis” (those vans Peruvians use as buses), I had the pleasure to discover this imposing white 17th century manor which had been built upon an ancient 7th century pyramid. This museum was created by Rafael Larco Hoyle in 1926, a famous archeologist who discovered many pre-Colombian civilizations. The Larco museum is truly a man wonder; it is full of ceramic objects, jewelry, precious stones coming from the Chimús, the Lambayeques, the Mochicas and the Incas. There also is a stunning collection of tapestry and quipús (accountancy instrument used by the Mochicas and the Chimús). One of the various things you get to know better in this museum is the fact that there were many other civilizations, although we are prompted to know just about the Incas (who by the way only existed 200years before the colonization!!)…
But what is really original in this museum is the fact that its storehouse is completely open, it offers then more than 45.000 art objects and makes it one of the very particular and precious museums in the world. After the main museum, you are more than invited to go down a bright little path surrounded by flowers to enter the erotic part. There you will find curious pots and sculptures that are more than realistic (with moralistic or just humoristic purposes). This shows us the different sexual behaviours those civilizations had. You can easily visit the whole museum in an hour but if you still have some time and you are not in a hurry, I would advise you to sit at the café-restaurant where you can have a drink or order typical Peruvian food or to have a walk in the peaceful garden. The menu was made by Gaston Acurio, a very famous Peruvian chef and it is really affordable.
There I discovered a cultural paradise that I vividly recommend to all the travelers who get the chance to stop in Lima, on their way to discover the world…
I have being in Peru recently and after visiting almost every museum in Lima and Cusco and will definitely recommend the following as a must (eventhough you don´t like to visit museums - but in Peru, they are almost an obligatory experience, because of the complex history it has!):
In Lima - the capital city has the best museums and you must visit one in particular, Larco Museum. It has an extraordinary collection of pre-columbian art. Pottery, gold and silver, textiles and it´s perfectly labelled in english and even french! There are excellent guides in english too that you can hire for a tour for about $8.
There is a Café in the gardens where you can try peruvian excellent food. Don´t miss it.
In Cusco - a beautiful surprise about two blocks of the Plaza de Armas, was the Museo de Arte Precolombino. I thinks it is relatively new, but the collection is outstanding.
You learn to appreciate primitive art the same way you can appreciate today a Monet o Picasso painting. You must go there!
The museum offers much portraits, religious pictures, furniture, silver handcrafts, and very large painting about Atahualpa funerals. When visiting (January 2008) there was a special photo exhibition of Andian objects around Cerro de Pasco, mostly about mines and miners.
This is one of those little treasures you don't expect to find in South America. The museum was fantastic! It's a private museum run by the family of the archaeologist and founder. They have a collection of about 45,000 pre-Columbian objects including a spectacular Erotic Gallery featuring ceramics in all sorts of positions. It's definitely a must see!!
This museum lost a lot of it's noteriety when a good portion of the museum was found to contain fakes. Supposedly they've cleaned up their act. The museum is split up into two sections the military section and the section containing Incan/pre-incan treasures. If Lima is your first stop in Peru this will probably be your first taste of the ancient Peruvian civilizations. This section contains a number of interesting mummies, pottery and artifacts that will certainly have you entralled.
Also located at the museum are a number of shops selling upscale woolen garments and knick-knacks.
This place was kinda lame. There's an English speaking tour available and you get to see some wax figures and go down into an area that used to be like a dungeon or something. Our guide sounded like she was trying to justify the inquisition (Yes, they killed Jews, but only the ones that lied about secretly practicing"), which was really weird. The torture museum in San Francisco has more wax figures than this place. And yes, this place is so lame I just compared it to the torture museum in San Francisco. Skip this and go to the National Museum or one of the many other museums in Lima instead.
In this museo you may see the work of inqvisitors, not only here, but all over the catholic world. Inqvisitors were great inventors and appliers of all kind of torture methods, and their systems are still used all over the world. One specially used torturing device is a Garrotte, developed here by conquistadores. For example, Inka Atahualpa was executed by that device.
The ceiling of the inqvisition trial room is special. It has been made from 30000 wooden pieces.
After seeing all these torturing methods it's time to go to the nearby Chinatown restaurant for a lunch. Bon apetit!!!
The Museum Tribunal of the Holy Inquisition works at Plaza Bolívar, at the same building where the tribunal itself worked since 1584.
The museum tells the story of the Tribunal of the Holy Inquisition, created by spanish King Philip II to fight against the heresies, all kinds of "sexual deviations", protestantism and juadaism.
After visiting the Holy Inquisition Museum, with the same ticket you can also visit the Congress Museum (in the same building) that tells the story of the peruvian republic.