Last Days in Lima – Museum of Art Lima.

Museum of Art, Lima, (MALI). This deserved way more time than Brunyfire and Miss W had time for, but it was out last evening in Lima after all.A42374A1-9098-4587-8B79-57E2FEA425AAMALI presents 3000 years of Peruvian art which includes a large selection of pre-Columbian textiles and ceramics, as well as pictures and furniture from Colonial and Republican times and a significant selection of contemporary paintings and photographic works. However, with so little time, Brunyfire dedicated her attention to the Pre Columbian (1200 BC – 1532 AD) ceramics whose accompanying texts provided many more edifying details. The works came from the North: Cupisnique, Chavín, Mochica, Recuay, Lambayeque and Chimú and in the South: Paracas. Nazca, Huari, Cjancay and Chincha.8CED3980-1905-42E2-B560-0F6B92045834Space and Environment: From the very beginning of the occupation of the Andes, societies established in the region had to face a highly diverse and complex environment. Ideology and religion played a fundamental role in the course of the long process of adaptation. The use of marine resources and the cultivation of land dependedupon favorable weather conditions, which inhabitants believed could be altered by divine forces. Hence, these societies sacralised the elements of nature, giving godly shape to animals and deified beings with which they maintained contact through worship and rituals that were overseen by the ruling priests. The works displayed in this gallery depict some of the ways Andean societies interpreted their surroundings in order to understand them.

Mythology and Environment: The art of the Cupisnique (1200BC – 200BC) shows human figures engaged in ceremonies for the worship of the gods in order to guarantee order and balance in the world. Some of the vessels depict figures with face paint playing musical instruments or portray the ceremonial journey of the ruling priests undertaken in an effort to contact the gods.  46376A7A-15A5-4390-8B9E-018DB1E9DA18(Above: Stirrup spouted vessel with imcised designs and zoomorphic representations – Cupisnique 900-200AC).

(Left) Mochica (100-500 AD) Stirrup spouted vessel with sculptural representation of an owl. (Right) Mochica (100-899AD) Stirrup spouted bottle depicting snakes.

The Appropriation of Sacred Space: The Nasca geoglyphs are an example of how Andean man appropriated the natural environment to shape it into a ritual or informative setting. The site features the world renown lines and figures (only observable from the air) that recent studies would suggest were used as sacred sites for propitiatory ceremonies related to the cult of water and fertility. Much of the geometric, floral and figurative imagery that appears on on the desert floor of Nasca, also appear on the ceramics – like the hummingbird motif……..23157F17-F47C-481E-BAD2-0D62295F938B………that is also featured on the Nasca bowl (200BC – 640 AD)……..CE9D3210-4F6A-43C6-873E-D22C3086AADD………and the double spouted, bridge handled bottle with hummingbird motif. (200BC- 650AD).63DFC762-1189-41EE-9507-01F3D1C782BBThere are more than fifty (identified) geometric motifs that have been used on Nasca ceramics, appearing individually or together that represent an extensive repertoire of mythical images. The elements most depicted are stepped triangles, steps with spirals, spirals, zigzag lines and later, chevrons and crosses.

(Left: bowl with stepped triangles and volutes, 100-650AD. Right: plate with simple geometric design, 100-650 AD). While the meaning of these motifs has not yet been deciphered, they may have formed some kind of stylised shorthand for creatures or objects that formed part of the complex Nasca iconographic system.9EFF77F1-C26C-4EBB-9DDA-F4B6A4479F7AA Nasca double spouted, bridge handled bottle with maize motifs, 200AD – 650 AD. Nasca trophy heads were also featured in the collection, pieces that Brunyfire was entirely unfamiliar with but a really interesting reveal action to the Nasca culture of the period – 100-650AD. Decapitated heads is a primary motif apparently, of the Nasca South coast iconography…….

……on the left, a trophy head with beard and face paint and right: head with face paint. Real heads were taken from those defeated in combat, and conserved by stuffing the eye sockets with cotton; the jawbones fastened together and the lips sealed shut with thorns. The heads were then tied to a rope through a hole cut in the skull, and presented as war trophies.

Cajamarca ware is widely recognised for the use of white clays. Cajamarca (its Quechua name, Kashamarka), is the capital and largest city of the Cajamarca Region as well as an important cultural and commercial center in the northern Andes. It is located in the northern highlands of Peru at approximately 2,750 m (8,900 ft) above sea level in the valley of the Mashcon river. Cajamarca pottery of the Middle Horizon period (600-900AD), used a broad range of motifs rendered I fine thin lines in a cream slip over a red background.

(Left: Cajamarca tripod legged dish and right: plate with annular base and painted geometric designs, both 400-640 AD).

MALI presented descriptive texts to much of the ceramics on display that was really useful information. MALI also pays tribute to the production methods of the Pre Columbian wares in their collection acknowledging that most museum’s generally tend to emphasise the finished works and pay little attention to how products were made. Thus, the pre fired (bisque) ware below are molds for a Lambayeque bottle (right) and a kero cup (Left).

2BCFEAE1-ADB7-44AE-9A62-86E46115D3BCAnd finally – a last look from our apartment over Miraflores……

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