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Exploring the Museums of Lima, Peru

There are two museums in Lima that provide a full exposure to the craftsmanship of those ancient societies who came long before the Inca. I visited both today on the Gold Museum & Ancient Treasures shore excursion.

The Larco Museum is a private collection of 45,000 ceramic pieces that date back to well before Christ. Senor Larco was just 25 when he began his research and excavating of these items. The reason that they are still intact is that they were buried in the sand and the Spanish never found them so they escaped the fate of so many sites here in South America, total destruction. There are 3 rooms of displays and the vessels themselves look like they are new reproductions because they are in such excellent condition.

I am thinking of spending a lengthy period of time under some sand myself since it seems to preserve so well. The third room is reserved for the exotic art and I won’t go into detail here but suffice it to say that the artists went into EVERY detail. Photos not included since children may be reading the HAL blogs. The display provided some great comments and laughter among the guests but all were impressed with the work itself. Before I leave the Larco I must mention the gardens that were breathtaking in their displays. Set against the stark white building, the bougainvilleas and other flowers provided an amazing palette of colors.

Ceramics at the Larco Museum.

Peruvian weavers.

The Larco Museum.

The Museo d’Oro or Gold Museum was the second stop on the tour. It houses two collections, weapons of war and the ancient gold. Both are impressive but most of us were more interested in the gold. However, one guest discovered that the two pistols he has at home for which he paid $20 are also in this museum. He is headed to Antique Road Show when he gets home!

Here again, the impressive fact is what man could do with no modern technology. Gold was used for everything from jewelry to ceremonial armor to funerary ornamentation and blankets. I am a jewelry hound so I always gravitate to the detail of the gold pieces I can wear. As they say, there is nothing in fashion that hasn’t been done before. Looking at some of these pieces, I can say that they would fetch a pretty price on Gilt.com if they were put online, and not because of the antique value but for the fashion statement. You can spend a week in Lima just visiting museums. If you don’t have a lot of time these two will give you a good view of the past and the expanse of man’s creativity.

Joanne Gardner is a contributor to the Holland America blog and future cruise consultant aboard Veendam.

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