Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
November 19, 2002
Wonderful replicas of every main archeological site in Peru took up the length of entire tables. We marveled at the complexity of the Machu Picchu model ruins, increasing our excitement about visiting in person.
Exhibitions on four floors featured paintings, ceramics, costumes and jewelry from pre-Hispanic to present day Peru, illustrating the development of the country. But the highlight was a special exhibit on Sipan.
In 1987, one of the richest tombs in the New World was discovered in northern Peru. Inside an eroded pyramid near Sipan, archeologists found the royal tomb of Lord Sipan in all his glory.
Covering the skeletal remains of this Pre-Columbian ruler were a gold headdress, ear ornaments with turquoise animal mosaics, gold pectorals representing the sun, a peanut shaped necklace in gold and silver representing the duality of the world (day/night and good/evil), gold and turquoise jewelry, and formed gold pieces that fit snugly over the ruler's face. His right hand held a gold scepter shaped in a reversed pyramid, while his left held a staff showing the sculptured submission of a man to his king.
It took 150 days to excavate these funerary ornaments, and four years to restore. Beautifully displayed, the Moche pieces were striking to see, especially the richness of the turquoise mosaics against the gold and copper.
The story of how excavation unfolded was shown through life-sized replicas of the excavation site. We progressed through the different stages archeologists went through to unearth this massive site and saw the in situ position of each burial tomb.
We saw how the 1st ruler of ancient Peru was surrounded by 8 companions, warrior-shaped jugs containing food, and a thousand ornaments. Females laid above and below the Lord of Sipan, with llamas, a dog, a ten year old and a warrior chief to his left. All had their left foot amputated to show their devotion to the king. A young guard buried at the entrance of the large tomb had both feet amputated, ensuring his position.
Funerary ornaments from three other tombs found during the excavation were also displayed. Inside the priest tomb were gold masks with shell teeth, nose rings, and a large owl headdress with wings spread wide. Apparently the funeral was a lengthy process because one of the females sacrificed when the priest died had her flesh ceremoniously removed by birds.
A fierce looking feline figure indicated the military importance in the Old Lord tomb. An elaborate fox headdress, nine metallic nose ornaments, weapons, palm-sized gold spiders with a face in each center, and a single companion–that of a 16 year old–were excavated from this 40 year old military leader's tomb. Only one ornament had turquoise, but it was my favorite in the entire Sipan exhibit...a tiny thumb-sized gold warrior figurine wearing an owl headdress and turquoise armor. I can still see him vividly.
A splendid exhibit!
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