How Museo Larco Saved Peruvian History

Located in one of Lima’s more quiet neighborhood, Pueblo Libre, lies a museum with a fascinating history. Museo Larco houses an incredible private collection of pre-Columbian art from Peru, everything from precious metals to mummies and ceramic artefacts. This site has easily become the most favored museum in Peru and for good reason.

History of Rafael Larco Hoyle

In the early 1920s, Rafael Larco Hoyle was given a ceramic vessel from northern Peru by his father. This was a very beautiful and intricate piece from the Moche period and what sparked Rafael Larco to dedicate his life to archeology and the history of Peru. By 1925, Rafael Larco opened the Museo Larco and managed to accumulate over 45,000 artefacts with the help of his father Rafael Larco Herrera.

During this time, there was not a lot known about Peruvian archeology and Rafael Larco Hoyle became a pioneer in this field. He wrote notable works about archeology in Peru, excavated a number of sites, and conducted research to learn more about ancient Peruvian history. He was particularly interested in the history and artefacts of the northern coast of Peru and most of his work reflects findings from this area.

Museo Larco

Through excavations, donations, and acquisitions, Rafael Larco was able to amass thousands of objects and artefacts from the pre-Columbian era and decided to move the museum to the capital, Lima. Now housed in an 18th-century viceroy’s mansion, this massive collection that stretches back more than 3,000 years is a dedication to Rafael Larco Herrera, the father of Rafael Larco Hoyle. He wanted many people form all over the world to enjoy the pieces and he felt that Lima was the best place where people could do that.

The museum displays the artefacts in an engaging way in order to teach visitors about the deep and cultural history of Peru that is more than the Incan empire. Visitors are allowed in the store rooms in order to see every piece that the museum has acquired and has to offer. There are ceramic pieces, textiles, mummies, precious metal artifacts, and a number of pots in various shapes. All of the pieces are organized chronologically in order to give a clear view of the history.

Visitors are also fans of the ancient erotic collection that is housed here. It features a collection of ceramic pieces that depict various sexual positions and acts. These are very precious because a number of them were destroyed when Spanish conquerors came to Peru and were offended by the pieces.

Acquisition of Artefacts

Since its inception, Museo Larco has been a private museum, mainly acquiring objects and collections from other people. But since Rafael Larco was an avid excavator, his uncle, Victor Larco Herrera, encouraged him to open the museum in Lima to safeguard the pieces from his expeditions. Therefore, the Museo Larco museum in Lima was opened in 1926.

Rafael Larco also bought numerous collections in order to save the pieces from tomb raiders, who he claimed were “his real enemies.” Thus, Rafael Larco preserved his country’s ancient cultures, even discovering new ones, during his excavations and acquisitions. He used his wealth and devotion to commission numerous excavations on a massive scale to protect the artefacts from being pilfered.

Rafael Larco’s devotion to Peruvian archeology and ancient history has produced an incredible museum that allows visitors from all over the world to learn and experience this beautiful culture. From the beautiful artefacts to the colonial house and gardens, every moment at this museum is engaging and interesting and definitely worth a visit while in Lima.

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