Last night we arrived in Lima, the capital of Peru. I was so tired, the instant I arrived I set down my pack and went right to sleep.
This morning we slept in to our hearts’ content and set out to learn about the ancient Peruvians in a museum that housed tons upon tons of artifacts.
The museum had tens of thousands of artifacts, pieces of pottery and gold and jewelry. Each one had a caption about when it was, what it was, and what it was for.
I liked how the museum taught its visitors that ancient Peruvian history was more than just the Incas. It explained about periods older than everything i’ve learned about, all through the periods of culture, pottery, and religion that Peru has lived through.
Ancient Peruvians believed that the world (Pacha) had three realms: Hanan Pacha, that of the gods, Kay Pacha, that of the humans, and Ukhu Pacha, that of the dead. The bird (more specifically the condor) symbolized the realm of the gods. The feline (more specifically the puma) represented the realm of the humans. And the land of the dead was shown by the emblem of a serpent (more specifically a snake).
Those three realms and those three animals held a special place in Inca society. And to pay tribute to the gods required sacrifice by ritual combat. The museum showcased clubs made of wood used in ritual combat by the competitors. Whoever was able to remove the headdress of the other and grab their hair was the winner. And the loser was condemned to sacrifice.
Alongside the ceremonial clubs of the ritual combatants were huge pieces of gold and silver worn by the ancient inhabitants of Peru, including the Incas. Huge pieces of gold that would be used like earrings for the upper lip of the people. Huge pieces of gold worn on heads by the people. Bracers, earrings, and much more. All made of gold and/or silver.
And what I found fascinating was the liking the Spaniards took to the gold. When they came, they demanded a ton of gold to set the Inca ruler of the time free from Spaniard captivity. The Spaniards didn’t care whether it was a gold coin or a silver piece of headgear. They melted it all. And a lot of gold that was shipped back to Europe was from the Americas and implemented into churches and Catholic goblets.
The final thing that I loved about the museum was a map they had of the first ancient systems of thought in the world. There were seven circled areas on the map of the world, marking the 7 original spots where culture developed. Those spots were in Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, Alaska, Mexico, and Peru.
And on we go to learn about Inca history in Cusco, the destination we will fly to tonight!
Below: Peruvian Artifacts
Below: Inca Knot System used for Communicating and Recording Information