Lima, Peru: Museo Larco [Day 42 | Part 2]

Day 42 | Sunday, December 4, 2016

After spending weeks touring various historical Inca sites I am anxious to actually see some of the artifacts that they have recovered from many of the sites that we have visited. Unfortunately, not even a small number of artifacts stay at or near many of the sites they were recovered from. They are often transported to major metropolises like Lima or worse places like universities in the United States on permanent loan. After reading several bloggers’ accounts and confirming with TripAdvisor (it is the #1 thing to do in Lima, Peru per TripAdvisor) we are visiting the Museo Larco. 

The Museo Larco houses an impressive collection of pre-Columbian artifacts ranging from textiles, ceremonial vessels, jewelry and elements that were used in human sacrifice.

In our usual fashion we are heading out on foot from our apartment to the museum. If we were to walk the whole distance it would take us just over an hour. Normally we would enjoy this but tonight we are leaving with less than an hour until sunset and a good part of our walk is going to be through the Jesus Maria district which is not as safe for tourists after dark. So, we will walk as far as we feel is safe and will then order an Uber to take us the rest of the way. We made it about half way on foot before we started getting the sideways glances wondering what we were doing in this neighborhood at this time of day. We took the cue and decided to order an Uber. Once the Uber arrived in about 10 minutes we were at the museum. 

Crazy enough they have the front gates closed and guarded by two security guards when you arrive. At first we were questioning if they were closed but then we realized that they were letting another patron in. Funny enough it was a gentleman that we stood and watched the changing of the guard with this morning. I guess when you are hitting the major tourist highlights it is possible that you will run into the same people.

Once through the gate you walk up a long ramp to the building at the top of the hill. The grounds are beautifully kept. They have lush gardens all around and I could imagine spending time lingering here in the afternoon. Once inside the building you are greeted with a reception desk and you pay your entrance fee. This museum is hip in my book because they allow non-flash photography. The receptionist was bilingual which is nice so you know you are 100% clear on the instructions they just gave you.

From there we wove our way through the museum. First the introductory room. Then to the gallery of cultures represented by the photo of the 3 enormous vessels. Next, to the textile room where the large blue and yellow tapestry hangs. The blue and yellow are made up entirely of feathers. It is amazing how vibrate the colors are and what good condition they are still in. There is also an example of a quipus (long strings with knots tied in them) which is a recording device used to keep records of tax obligations, properly collecting census records, calendrical information, and military organization by the Inca elite. Then on to the sacrificial ceremony room housing countless weapons used in ceremonies. I think the best picture from this room is the case of what appears to be throwing stars but they are actually various heads for handheld weapons that you see fully assembled in the middle of the photo. Then to the ceremonial containers room and then on to the extremely impressive gold gallery and jewelry. The scale of the jewelry they wore was insane. Especially when you consider that they were not large people, I am 5’ 4” and I would have fit right in when it came to height. Fortunately the gold pieces are delicate and thin so they must not weigh much. The last room is called the visible deposits. It is an 8 room monstrosity filled with floor to ceiling shelves chocked full of pottery. It is almost overwhelming and it makes you wonder how so much pottery has survived.

We opted not to eat at the restaurant onsite but it has a beautiful setting which you get a glimpse of in the last picture in the album.

I am glad we visited this museum in our last few days here in Lima.

Museo Larco [30 soles per person for adults under 65]
Address: Avenida Bolívar 1515, Pueblo Libre, Lima
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 9:00am to 10:00pm (including public holidays)
December 24th, 25th, and 31st, and January 1st, 9:00am to 6:00 pm
Languages: Permanent exhibition in 6 languages (Spanish, English, French, Italian, German and Japanese). You will find laminated sheets in the above languages just inside the doors to each room.
Photography: is permitted throughout the museum, without flash.

Additional Cost:
Restaurant on site.
Gift shop on site.

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