Friday, July 13, 2007

Archaeological Museum

After lunch we took taxis to the district of Pueblo Libre in order to visit the National Archaeology, Anthropology, and History Museum, which used to be directed by a cousin of my dad's, the anthropologist Luis Lumbreras.

We had to rush through a bit as they were close to closing for the day. It was nice to actually see pieces long-familiar from book illustrations. Always amazing to me are the 'portrait vessels' made by Moche potters of the north coast between the first and sixth centuries C.E.

From these one would not only be able to recognize individuals, but one can even deduce some of the personalities of the subjects.

Of course, the Moche did not limit themselves to depicting humans, they also sculpted realistic and stylized animals, plants, and anthropomorphic figures with equal skill and rigorous attention to detail.

Perennial favorites of visitors, as well as book illustrators, are this fellow and others like him:

The holes along the top of his head mean that whatever liquid is held by the vessel must be poured out through the phallus, which shows that the Moche at least had a sense of humor!

While at the museum, Nico was captivated by some birds that were flitting about the garden. After several attempts and battling a dying battery, we managed to get a picture of this male vermillion flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus), a species know locally as turtupilín.

While at the museum, I discovered this painting of the last supper, with a cuy on the plate:

I wonder if Willy knows about it.

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