Pre-Columbian Art Museum

Pre-Columbian Art Museum

:"Not to be confused with other museums with similar names."

The Pre-Columbian Art Museum ( _es. Museo de Arte Precolombino),or MAP, is located in the Plaza Nazarenas in the San Blas region of Cusco, Peru. The Museum presents an archaeological collection from every region of Ancient Peru from an artistic point of view. The Museum displays 450 exquisite objects from its home museum in Lima, the Larco Museum, known worldwide for their pre-Columbian artifacts.


The building where the museum is now housed was originally an Inca ceremonial courthouse. In 1580, it was acquired by the conqueror Alonso Díaz and subsequently built over in fine Colonial style to become the home of an elite member of Cusco society, the Viceroy Hernandez de Cabrera, for whom the mansion is named. It then passed through many hands and had multiple functions, ultimately falling into a ruinous state. After a large-scale restoration, the Pre-Columbian Art Museum opened in June 2003. [Ybarra, M. (2004, October 10). Not just artifact, but art. Los Angeles Times, pp. E40.]

Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo inaugurated the museum at the summit, saying "we are showing the world our cultural wealth. I am profoundly proud that [we can give to the summit] a little of the culture that belongs not only to Peru, but also to Latin America… [The region must] look to its past to construct together a new Latin America with more health, education, justice for the poor and culture." [ [ XVII Cumbre Presidencial del Grupo de Río ] ]


The works of art displayed at the Pre-Columbian Art Museum, encompass a period of time dating from 1250 B.C. until 1532 A.D. There are a total of ten galleries: Formative, Nasca, Mochica, Huari, Chancay – Chimu, Inca, Wood, Jewelry and Stone, Silver, and Gold and Metals.

The Formative Gallery houses pieces from many diverse cultures. Among these are Cupisnique, Salinar, Vicus, Viru and Paracas in its older phase or “cavernas”. During this period (1250 B. C - 1 A. D.) there is a remarkable advance in ceramic art. Painting and sculpture take in place; there are beautifully naturalistic and symbolic representations; many of them enriched by the use of incise decoration in which the Cupisnique artist get to a high development.

The Inca culture conquered all the territory of pre-Columbian Peru where they restored with great political ability the Tahuantinsuyo empire. In the Inca Gallery magnificent ceramic objects are showcased like the emblematic “aribalos” or monumental vessels. These pieces have many decorative elements that transmit a subtle message of organization and symbolism. One of these aribalos is of great size and is unique to the collection.

Other points of interest

The Museum Café or MAP Café is located in the colonial mansion's patio and is one of Peru's most highly acclaimed restaurants. The chef prepares modern Peruvian dishes and the wine list is amongst the best in Cusco.

The Museum's Auditorium seats 120 people and often houses lectures and other local events.

The Museum Shop has an assortment of books and collectables available for purchase.

HStern Jewellers and Kuna by Alpaca 111 also have storefronts at the Museum. HStern Jewelers have selected and reproduced some of the finest pieces of Pre-Columbian Peruvian Art in 18 carat gold, gems and native materials faithfully, in an endeavor to preserve the spirit of these fascinating civilizations with the maximum of quality and fidelity. Alpaca 111 offers the finest in alpaca, vicuña and llama wool products.


External links

* [ Pre-Columbian Art Museum website]

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