The Larco Museum of Lima is an extraordinary collection of Pre-Colombian work in pottery, textiles, silver and gold. It is the personal collection of Rafael Larco Hoyle (1901-1966). The collection is housed in three separate buildings. The largest part of the collection is beautifully installed in the central residence of what was a great hacienda. Two adjacent builds house the storage room of thousands of additional works and the collection of erotic or fertility pottery.
The entry is through a garden surrounded by multicolored bougainvillea. A display of rare cacti indigenous to Peru fills the courtyard. The pottery is exceptional. Much dates to the pre-Inca period before 800AD. Of special interest are the portrait busts. The features are delicately and finely molded. The features are strikingly similar to those of the present day alto plano Indians. The great vessels for preparation of corn beer are delicately painted.
There is a small, but outstanding collection of fabrics, some almost 1500 years old. Several are made entirely of feathers. We were told that the birds were not killed but trapped, lightly plucked and released.
A large portion of the exhibit describes the rituals of human sacrifice. The paintings on pottery vessels are reproduced and simplified. Each step of the ritual is interpreted, frame by frame. Nearby, the instruments, clothing, jewelry and weapons are displayed. According to the curators, the tombs and associated artifacts of several of the people identified in the pottery drawing were found in a collective tomb and are on display here.
The jewelry, also found in tombs, is of gold, silver and gilded silver. Some ear pieces and necklaces are made of beautifully inlaid stones.