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Gold and Jewelry

Rooms 11, 12, 13

The clothing and adornments used by the rulers of ancient Peru were symbols which denoted who they were during life and who they would become after death.

Throughout history, clothing has not only protected us from the natural elements, it has also enabled us to demonstrate who we are. Our clothing and adornments indicate our gender and social position, as well as our origins and what we do. This has been the case from the first moment when the members of a society felt the need to identify themselves as equals, as well as to differentiate themselves from others. Even today, members of a religion or the armed forces demonstrate that they belong to these institutions and their respective hierarchies through external indicators such as clothing.

In all ancient societies, the elite employed ways of defining themselves. In ancient Peru leaders would dress and adorn themselves with articles exclusive to their social rank. They would preside over the principal ceremonies wearing garments and ornaments which not only denoted the function they performed, but which also displayed the religious codes of their society and the emblems of power and privileged status. Their social position and identity were defined by their dress, crowns and many items of jewelry.

When they died they took with them into the afterlife objects which expressed their way of seeing the world. They were interred with the ritual attire which had identified their rank during life, and which had marked them out as the descendants of the gods. Their identity transcended their earthly existence and accompanied them into the next world. After death, these rulers would be transformed into ancestors who would share a place in the celestial world with the gods.

Smiths, weavers, pottery makers and other specialist artisans dedicated their abilities and skills, as well as a great deal of their time and energy, to dressing and decorating their lords, both in life and after death. To a great extent, they were responsible for the success of the journey made by their lords into the next world, for they were entrusted with the manufacture of objects of highly symbolic, devotional and mystical importance.

Chimú Silver Ear Ornaments
Room 11, Vitrine 134

Chimú Silver Nose Ornaments
Room 11, Vitrine 135

Vicús Gold Nose Ornaments
Room 11, Vitrine 136

Mochica Gold Ear Ornaments
Room 11, Vitrine 137

Room 12, Vitrine 142

Room 12, Vitrine 143

Room 12, Vitrine 145

Mochica Deer Hunt
Room 12, Vitrine 147

Mochica Gold Miniatures
Room 12, Vitrine 148

Mochica Bird Runners
Room 12, Vitrine 149

Virú Gold Funerary Offerings
Room 12, Vitrine 152

Nasca Gold Adornments
Room 12, Vitrine 153

Chimú Funerary Attire
Room 12, Vitrine 156