In today’s world, we tend to classify all representations of nudity, genital organs or sexual acts as erotic imagery. However, representations of sexuality among the cultures of ancient Peru introduce us to another perspective on such imagery.
The pottery vessels we see in these rooms were used to record the rituals and mythology of pre-Columbian societies, and they also provide many details of the world in which ancient Peruvians lived, and the relationships between the inhabitants of that world. The sexual activities represented in these pottery vessels alluded to these relationships and interactions.
In pre-Columbian art, we find detailed representations of both male and female genital organs which allude to the notion of duality. We also find scenes in which men and women participate in sexual acts that may even include deities or the dead. To understand these representations, it is important to consider the nature of artistic expression in general among pre-Columbian cultures.
This exhibition room presents a selection of archaeological artifacts from the Larco Museum collection, which was established by Rafael Larco Hoyle in the 1960s as a result of his studies regarding sexual representations in Peruvian pre-Columbian art, which he would publish in his book Checán (1966).
This exhibition enables us to better understand the world view of the societies of ancient Peru. At the same time, it offers us a fascinating and unique opportunity to focus on sexuality, freed of our own societal structures and preconceptions.