Lima, Pt. 2

Our last day in Lima turned out sunny! We were all so surprised! We celebrated by spending waaay too much money at Starbucks and watching Pitch Perfect 2 that evening.

The only thing we did that day was visit two museums, which we both thought was worth out time; Museo Larco and Peru’s national anthropological museum.

Museo Larco is basically a ceramics museum. Exciting, right? But we heard of a particular exhibit that tends to draw crowds, and morbid curiosity overcame us. We went. The ticket prices, I thought, were kind of expensive: 30 soles for an adult. Thankfully, Sarah Ann and I were able to get student discounts for 15 soles apiece. The museum was the prettiest building we had seen in a long time, complete with gorgeous garden and flowers. We received complimentary orange water (so good!) and went to see the pottery on display in glass cabinets:

IMG_5564Seriously, there were around seven rows to a room and three rooms of pottery. And this isn’t a permanent exhibit. They rotate out the jars. Can you believe there was that much pottery?

There were also textiles on display as well as gold and silver artifacts, which great display (in English, French, and German!!) on human sacrifice, gender roles in ancient Incan culture, and more.

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Can’t you just see us pulling off all that nose jewelry and gold hats?

The infamous exhibit, of which I shan’t be sharing photos online, was of erotic pottery. Yes, that’s a thing. Apparently you can learn a lot about a culture’s views of sex from looking at pottery. A lot of the jar’s handles were shaped in a a you-know-what, while the opening of jars were shaped in a feminine you-know-what. And there were plenty of figurines of all sorts of positions between men and women, with varying degrees of acrobatic ability. And then there all the extra-curricular sex stuff (just use your imagination and it was there), with lovely examples of necrophilia. My favorite ceramic though, was of a woman in bed nursing a child on one side with a man behind her. Talk about multi-tasking! I was impressed. And we learned all about how non-procreational sex was associated with necrophilia because the seed dropped into the earth, which was the realm of the dead. I didn’t really get all of it either. I don’t think the guy who discovered all this pottery really got their whole sex culture either.

Moving along to PG-rated topics, we went to the anthropological museum, which is about a 20 minute walk from Museo Larco. We literally followed a blue painted line on the sidewalk until we found it. While it wasn’t the best museum any of us had been to, but they did have mummified bodies from the Peruvian desert cultures (pre-Incan) and the skulls of Incans, showing their elongated heads.

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Sometimes trepanning, which is cutting holes in the skill, usually for brain surgery, was also used for cosmetic practices. This dude had part of his skull removed, then replaced it with gold to look powerful and rich.

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At some point in time this bilobular modeling was also a beautiful, popular look among women. The shaping of the skull began during toddler years, and depending on the shape intended, wooden boards were tied to the head to make flat places, or strips of cloth/ropes were tied tight over the head. In this case, ropes were used. While the children may have worn them all the time, it was definitely used at night.

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This lovely specimen used the wooden boards on the forehead and the back to elongate everything. You can see a little more explanation in the sign above the skull. Fascinating stuff. I find it rather ugly, but before I judge, I have to remember that we stuffed women in corsets for hundreds of years. And plastic surgery isn’t a whole lot better usually.

That night, we boarded a bus (Tepsa company, 35 soles apiece) to head to Trujillo, a large city in northern Peru. Slowly but surely, we are getting closer to the US!

 

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Morgan S Hazelwood

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