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Mochica frontal ornament with feline head and octopus tentacles ending in catfish heads

Mochica frontal ornament with feline head and octopus tentacles ending in catfish heads (100-800 A.D.), gold, chrysocolla, shells [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Oct 17-Jan 5] Museo de la Nación, Lima Photo: Daniel Giannoni

Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon

Seattle Art Museum
Seattle WA – Oct 17, 2013-Jan 5, 2014

Julia Codesido, The Candles

Julia Codesido, The Candles (1931), oil on canvas [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Oct 17-Jan 5] Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Lima


This extensive survey of Peruvian art is made up of pieces spanning 3,000 years of cultural history. From ancient relics to the era of modern art, the thematically organized exhibit includes artwork and artifacts from early civilizations that pre-date the Incas through the time of Spanish conquest and the influence of Christianity, and into the last two centuries of artistic independence and the re-emergence of a native aesthetic.

Pre-Columbian and Incan examples of masterfully crafted objects and ornamentation in gold, silver and alloys, as well as masks, textiles, ceramics and ritual objects, showcase the artistry of some of the world’s first sophisticated civilizations. Several of these treasures have only recently been discovered and many have rarely been displayed before in the U.S.

The artistic integration after colonialism is reflected in paintings rendered with European techniques and objects that blend indigenous folklore and religious practices with Christianity. Archaeological photographs from the first Machu Picchu excavation in 1911 by American explorer Hiram Bingham reveal the unused site after several centuries, reiterating the legacy of the Incan Empire as an essential part of Peruvian national identity.

Peru’s independence from Spain in the early 19th century yielded the Indigenous movement of social, political and artistic change. Artists revisited ancient symbols and folk art, seeking a new artistic identity and authentic expression. The exhibit shows how contemporary Peruvian iconography is informed by the rediscovery of native traditions and aesthetics.

Allyn Cantor


Mochica earspool depicting a warrior

Mochica earspool depicting a warrior (100 - 800 A.D.), gold, turquoise, wood [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Oct 17-Jan 5] Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipán, Lambayeque


 Sat, Nov 9, 2013