Vancouver exhibit of Peruvian silver, including pieces from Larco Museum in Lima

On October 5th, the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada will open the exhibit Luminescence: the Silver of Peru.  Exploring the extensive history of silverwork and its cultural importance throughout the region, over 140 pieces will be on display, including regalia, sculpture, jewelry, masks, and costumes. The exhibit consists of pre-Columbian and Contemporary work from various museum collections including a fabulous selection from the Larco Museum in Lima.

Ever curious, we spoke with the Chief Curator of Museo Larco Ulla Holmquist about the museum’s role in this upcoming exhibit, and she gave us a sneak preview about their selection and why they were chosen. Seven alluring silver pieces from Larco’s collection (which is comprised of ceramics, extraordinary textiles, woodcarvings, stone sculpture, as well as rare gold and silver objects) will be featured, a selection of which are pictured below (codes are provided for those who want to search for more info on the catalogue).

“These pieces are beautiful and meaningful examples of the silverwork of the ancient Peruvian cultures,” Ulla commented. “Their technology is sophisticated but they also portray ritual and mythological scenes.”

“We have been invited by the organizers, considering the importance of our silver collection,” she explained, adding that she had personally “helped the organizers to choose pieces that could adequately communicate the concepts of the exhibition.”

Of the pieces on display, Ulla recommends paying special attention to one item from Larco’s collection in particular: an engraved silver bowl. This intricately detailed piece displays one of “the most important rituals of ancient Peru – the diving and picking of the Spondylus shell, considered to be food for the gods.”

The indigenous people of Peru were fascinated with the luminosity and the incredible, reflective properties of metals like silver.  Priests and rulers such as the Lord of Sipan adorned themselves crowns, jewels, and costumes made of silver and gold, a representation and proclamation of their divinity and authority.

The exhibit runs from October 5th to December 16th, if you happen to be in or around Vancouver do take the opportunity to view some of these Peruvian national treasures seldom seen outside of the country, and share your thoughts about the exhibit by commenting below or on our Facebook page.  You can include a visit to Museo Larco (and we highly recommend that you do!) as part of your city tour in Lima with Aracari.

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