Larco Museum

Larco Museum
Larco Museum
Established July 28, 1926
Location Av. Bolivar 1515
Pueblo Libre
Lima, Peru
Type Pre-Columbian art of Peru

The Larco Museum (Spanish: Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera) is a privately owned museum of pre-Columbian art, located in the Pueblo Libre District of Lima, Peru. The museum is housed in an 18th century vice-royal mansion built over a 7th century pre-Columbian pyramid. It showcases chronological galleries that provide a thorough overview of 4,000 of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. It boasts one of the world's largest collections of pre-Columbian art including Moche, Nazca, Chimú, and Inca pieces. Additionally, the Larco Museum is well known for its gallery of pre-Columbian erotic pottery.

It was one of the first museums in the world to make its entire 45,000 piece collection available in an online electronic catalog.



In 1925, Rafael Larco Herrera acquired a collection of vases and other archaeological pieces from Alfredo Hoyle, who was his brother-in-law. There were approximately 600 ceramic pieces in all. The arrival of these objects ignited a collector's enthusiasm in his son, Rafael Larco Hoyle. Soon after, Larco Herrera left his son in charge of the collection and those pieces completed the first collection of what would become the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum.

Garden View

During that same year, Larco Hoyle received some advice from his uncle, Victor Larco Herrera, a founder of the first museum in Lima. He urged Larco Hoyle to form a new museum in Lima, one that could guard all the archaeological relics that were continually being extracted by clandestine excavators.

Larco Hoyle agreed with his uncle and proceeded to create a museum that would carry on his father's legacy. Larco Hoyle purchased two large collections: 8,000 pieces from Roa and 6,000 pieces from Carranza. He also purchased several small collections in Chicama Valley, Trujillo, Virú, and Chimbote. Within a year, the collection had grown significantly and display cases were installed in a small house on the Chiclín estate. On July 28, 1926, Independence Day, the museum opened its doors to the public.

The Larco Museum now lends some of its collection to its daughter museum, the Museo de Arte Precolombino (Pre-Columbian Art Museum), located in Cusco, Peru.


Permanent exhibits

Mochica Headdress from the Gold and Silver Gallery
Storage Gallery

The Museum has several permanent exhibitions. The Gold and Silver Gallery showcases the largest collection of jewelry used by many notable rulers of pre-Columbian Peru. It comprises an impressive collection of crowns, earrings, nose ornaments, garments, masks and vases, finely wrought in gold and decorated with semi-precious stones. The Erotic Gallery has become one of South America's most popular attractions. Ancient Peruvian cultures represented their daily lives in ceramics, and this gallery holds the world's largest collection of erotic ceramics.

The Cultures Gallery exhibits 40,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. This chronology-based gallery provides visitors with a comprehensive view of cultures that existed in pre-Columbian Peru through the extant indigenous art that has survived since the 16th century Spanish conquest. This hall is divided into four areas: North Coast, Center, South and cultures from the highlands. Showcases have been ordered according to cultural sequence:

Other galleries include the Lithic, Vault, Ceramics, Metals, Textiles and Storage in which visitors have the opportunity to view the Museum's entire collection of classified archaeological objects.

International exhibits

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Larco Museum lends its collections to several museums and cultural centers around the world. Currently, there are traveling exhibits in Tokyo, Japan and Budapest, Hungary.


Before restoration. Gilded Copper Crown Vicus Culture 200 BC.
After restoration. Gilded Copper Crown Vicus Culture 200 BC.

The Larco Museum prides itself in the conservation and restoration of Peru's archaeological patrimony. With over 80 years of experience, the Museum has become one of the most prestigious institutions on conservation and restoration of archaeological Peruvian objects. The Museum houses conservation laboratories for textiles, ceramics and metals.

Other points of interest

The Museum Café is a restaurant located in the terrace and garden of the museum. Its interior, designed by architect Jordi Puig, provides the ambiance of an old chateau.

The Museum Gallery Shop has a wide variety of ceramic, metal and textile reproductions made by skilled craftsmen from all over Peru. The museum has formalized the reproduction techniques for these pre-Columbian artifacts and assesses each piece to ensure quality.

HStern Jewellers and Kuna by Alpaca 111 also have storefronts at the Museum. The Museum also features gardens that have received a Colonial Garden award from Peru.


  • Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient Peru:Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

External links

Coordinates: 12°4′20.30″S 77°4′14.91″W / 12.072306°S 77.0708083°W / -12.072306; -77.0708083

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Larco Museum — ▪ museum, Lima, Peru Spanish  Museo Larco        museum in Lima, Peru, displaying art and artifacts of ancient Peruvian history.       Founded in 1926 by Rafael Larco Hoyle, the Larco Museum contains one of Peru s finest historical collections… …   Universalium

  • Larco Museum — Museo Larco Das Larco Museum (Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera) in Lima ist ein Museum in Peru. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Daten zum Museum 2 Geschichte …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Rafael Larco Hoyle — (May 18, 1901, in Chicama Valley, Peru 1966), raised at Chiclin, his family s estate, was sent to school in Maryland, USA, at the age of twelve. He later entered Cornell University to study agricultural engineering and by 1923 returned to Peru to …   Wikipedia

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