If you love history as much as we do, then you shouldn’t miss the chance of visiting the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum during your visit in Lima. The renowned pre-Columbian art museum holds an important collection of archeological artifacts belonging to several societies of ancient Peru.
For those looking for a glimpse at the vast Peruvian history, this is the place to start! As you may know, Peru was inhabited by different civilizations before the arrival of the Spanish conquerors. These civilizations paved the way to the most recent cultures in our country, including the Incas.
The so-called Larco Museum has a collection of over 45,000 pieces that show the cultural evolution of our country since 5,000 years ago. The history of Peru overflows the entire facility, allowing the visitor to go on a back in time journey through the different objects collected by Rafael Larco Herrera and his son, Rafael Larco Hoyle.
Among the archeological items showcased here, you’ll find a variety of pieces made of gold and silver, precious stones, as well as textiles, pottery, and other objects. Likewise, the headquarters of the museum itself is a colonial gem called ‘Hacienda Cueva.’
However, the colonial mansion was remodeled several times to serve the purposes of the museum, though Don Rafael was eager to maintain its colonial-style following the architectural standards of the 18th Century.
The overall experience in Larco Museum is extraordinary. For that reason, we’d like to show you everything there’s to see in this renowned exhibition. Continue reading and learn everything about it!
The Rafael Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum counts with a permanent exhibition of Peru’s pre-Columbian history. However, there’s so much that happened before the construction of this gallery that you should know of.
Back in 1923, Rafael Larco Herrera gifted his son a well-preserved Moche portrait vessel, but little did he know that this would be the beginning of one of the largests pre-Columbian collections in the world.
Two years later, Rafael Larco Herrera expanded his collection to over 600 ceramic objects, something that encouraged his son to continue the legacy. A few months after that, he left the collection in hands of his son Rafael Larco Hoyle, a collection that would later constitute the now famous museum in Lima.
That same year, Rafael Larco Hoyle had the initiative to establish a gallery where he could save all those ancient artifacts left by his father. A year had passed and the collection grew significantly, which made possible the inauguration of a pre-Columbian art gallery in Trujillo.
The museum opened its doors in 1926. A small colonial house called Hacienda Chiclín was its headquarters until he finally decided to move the entire collection to Lima to attract even more visitors.
Nowadays, it is located in a reconstructed colonial house within the Pueblo Libre district in Lima. The gallery is composed of several exhibition rooms, a library, a restaurant and a video room.
1. Gold and Jewelry Gallery
In ancient Peru, the dresses and jewelry that the governors used to wear implied a profound symbolism of who they were in life and who they would be after their death. Throughout mankind history, clothing hasn’t only protected us from nature since it also allows us to express who we are.
The Gold and Jewelry Gallery comprehends a collection of crowns, ear muffs, nose rings, mascs, jewelry and vessels made entirely of gold and silver. Some of these objects belonged to the Chimu, Mochica, Vicus, and Lambayeque cultures among others.
2. Cultures of Ancient Peru Gallery
The gallery exhibits over 10,000 years of pre-Hispanic history of Peru, where different ceremonial objects, common-use artifacts and more are showcased in this room. The Cultures of Ancient Peru Gallery comprehends a vast collection of the archeological items that survived the Spanish conquest.
The Gallery is divided into four areas: North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast and the Andes. Each of them with pieces belonging to their respective cultures, such as, Moche, Chimu, Lima, Paracas, Nazca, Tiahuanaco, Wari, Inca and even more.
3. Erotic Portrait Vessels Gallery
It shows a collection of erotic ceramics found by Rafael Larco Hoyle around the 1960s, as a result of the investigations carried out regarding the sexual representations of the precolumbian Peru.
4. Sacrifice Ceremony Gallery
Human sacrifices were performed in different ancient cultures, not only in Peru but in the rest of the world. Most of them used to believe that death, bloodshed or even corporal mutilations would ritually transform the victim.
In this gallery are showcased several artifacts used before, during and after the sacrifice ritual belonging to the Mochica culture.
5. Textiles of Ancient Peru Gallery
During the pre-Columbian era, textiles were a form of communication between the members of different cultures. However, they also served to spread religious ideas and to establish social differences.
In this exhibition, you’ll find different textiles that were traced back to the Mochica, Huari, Chimú, Lambayeque, Nasca, Chinca, Paracas and Inca cultures.
These are a few of the eleven exhibition galleries that compose the famous Larco Museum. The site certainly offers a comprehensive understanding of the societies that marked our country, and also unveils many mysteries thanks to the studies carried out by Rafael Larco Hoyle.
For those looking to experience the Peruvian history from up close, the Larco museum is the way to go. As we mentioned before, it is located in the Pueblo Libre district, a not-so-touristy area of the Lima city.
However, If you wish to visit the Larco Museum, we highly recommend you taking a tour with a specialist that can teach you everything about what you’re going to see in the museum.
If you wish to live this experience with us, please contact our travel agents and plan your trip according to your interests.
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- Address: Av. Simón Bolívar 1515, Pueblo Libre, Lima.
- Entrance Fee: General Entrance S/. 35.00 - Students S/. 17.00 - Children under 17 years old S/.17.00 - Children under 8 years old do not require an entrance fee.