The world-renowned exhibition
at the Russian Ethnography Museum
in St. Petersburg
Fundación Miguel Mujica Gallo. Lima.
The world-renowned exhibition at the Russian Ethnography Museum
in St. Petersburg
(Museo Oro del Perú y Armas del Mundo)
Fundación Miguel Mujica Gallo. Lima.
TREASURES OF WORLD CULTURE IN THE RUSSIAN ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM OF SAINT PETERSBURG
Exhibition "The Gold of the Inca Empire. God. Power. Eternity. 2000 years of a great civilization" in the Russian Ethnographic Museum of St. Petersburg, dedicated to the great past of the Ancient Peru, is virtually an exceptional museum event.
Ancient worlds of Peru and the great Inca civilization that seemed to be lost forever in the abyss of times, are reborn like a mythological Phoenix bird on their way to eternity, presenting to the audience as cultural artifacts of extraordinary beauty and immeasurable value, endlessly astonishing and admiring the curious visitor.
The spirit of the ancient creators will amaze every visitor and will enchant him with the thoughts and aspirations of those who created these masterpieces millenniums ago.
By virtue of of this unusual exhibition of legendary artifacts from the collection of the Peru Museum of Gold, the public is exposed to a seemingly otherworldly, exotic universe. Exhibits, once created with faith in spiritual values, serve as some kind of mediators of knowledge on the way to exciting experiences.
The name "Gold of the Inca Empire" could have meant merely gold from Peru, a noble metal of various samples, from which symbols of status, decorations and utensils are made.
Perhaps it could have been described this way, if gold, according to entrenched views, has equated to money by Inca.
But it was not the case. Gold and silver represented for the Incas exclusively religious, magical and ritual values. The Incas identified gold with "droplets of sunny sweat", and silver - with "tears of the moon".
The gold of the Inca Empire" represents us gold as the myth of the Incas which became their destiny. It is amazing, that that this myth downed to us in this form though millenniums. Acquaintance with the works of ancient Peruvian jewelers in our century is equivalent to the discovery of a new and unknown world of miracles and wonders.
Ancient Peruvians have for centuries seen in gold the symbols of their gods and the sun. Gold embodied light, warmth and life as well. Incas considered themselves as godlike rulers originating from the Sun basing their power on this ancient belief. Gold in the form of decorative insignia, served to them as tool of powers enhancing.
"Gold of the Inca Empire": the reason for the tremendous appeal of the precious metal creations is not so much that they consist of gold or silver, but rather in the understanding that their show us the magnitude of the creators who remain unknown and whose story will never be told.
This exhibition, apart from the leitmotif associated with gold, is one more proof of the artistry and aesthetic perfection of the works of ancient Peruvian masters speaking the universal language of creativity accessible to the whole mankind.
Visitors to the State Ethnographic Museum in St. Petersburg are welcome to admire the world-famous creations from the funds of the Peru Museum of Gold and may also immerse themselves in the atmosphere of one of the most mysterious and highly developed cultures in the history of our world.
The exhibition invites inquisitive visitors to a some kind of expedition to the Inca Empire in order to understand Incas beliefs and visions of their Gods and Power along with pursuit of Eternity.
The conquistador Francisco Pizarro González, having executed Atahualpa, put an end to the Inca Empire. So the world full of contradiction has fallen. This was the world with organization which fully corresponded to the spirit of its inhabitants. In this world, a remarkable political and economic unity was established, in which even the inhabitants of the poorest regions could live secure and with dignity. The life of this society was based on the basic principle of justice: "Give and you will be given".
The Incas in this world adhered to numerous wise rules. It would be enough to quote one of them to show Incas greatness:
Nicanquis purinanchis ñañun puscanchis" - "Strong who cries together with the weak, will survive".
Nico D. Railianni
Owner of Imperial Capital Ventures
Founder of the project
"Gold of the Inca Empire. God-Power-Eternity. 2000 Years of a Great Civilization"
FOREWORD BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE REM
We are glad to offer to your attention the exhibition “The Gold of the Inca Empire. God. Power. Eternity. 2000 Years of a Great Civilization” dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Peru.
This exhibition is the unique opportunity to know the fascinating and original world of the Pre-Columbian Peruvian civilizations which for more than 2000 years developed in almost complete isolation from the Old World and made a significant contribution to the global treasury of cultural heritage.
The ancient agricultural peoples of Peru were the first to domesticate the plants without which it’s difficult to imagine daily life of man in any corner of planet today: potato, beans, cotton, peanuts.
It was they who by their efforts and inventiveness transformed the hardly suitable for life desert and semi-desert areas of the northern coast of Peru and frigid highlands of the central part of country into flourishing oases, created sophisticated and elaborate communication systems, built grandiose stone constructions which seismic resistance astonishes even modern engineers.
The ancient civilizations of Peru also reached impressive achievements in weaving, ceramic production and metal work. Jewelry, utensils and ritual objects from the Gold Museum of Peru presented on the exhibition are the best testimony of technical perfection and fine taste of artisans of the Moche, Lambayeque-Sican, Chiribaya, Tiwanaku, Frias, Vicas, Nazca and Chimu cultures, which creators made long way from primitive hunters and gatherers to founders of vast and prosperous states .
The true apogee of the Pre-Columbian Peruvian civilizations’ development was the formation of the largest in size and population number indigenous state in the South America Tawantinsuyu − literally the “Four United Regions”, more known for us as the Inca Empire in XI-XV cc. C.E.
By the arrival of Spaniards in 1532 it extended over the territory from the present city of Pasto in the south-western Columbia to the river of Maule in the northern Chile completely covering the land of modern Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. According to modern calculations its entire population is estimated between 5 and 12 millions of people who belonged to more than 300 ethnic groups.
In cultural respect the Inca Empire was successor of more ancient cultures of Moche, Chavin, Lambayeque, Vicus, Frias that once existed in the coast and highlands of Peru in IV c. B.C.E-XV c. C.E. It absorbed their experience, religious concepts, astronomical, mathematical and medical knowledge, ethic notions and principles of administrative organizations. Moreover, Incas carefully preserved the cultural heritage of previous epochs and not infrequently the artifacts of preceding cultures found their way to the treasurers of the Inca rulers; the residents and guests of Saint Petersburg can see the most spectacular examples of these objects on the exhibition.
These are gold and silver jewelry from the tombs of Lambayeque Sican culture, including the headdress of rulers worn during solemn ceremonies, ceramics of the inhabitants of the mysterious Nazca Valley, mask and crowns of Moche and Chimu cultures.
The exhibition also presents the authentic Inca artifacts including the rare silver vessel in shape of llama head. All these objects are part of the exceptionally valuable collection of gold and silver artifacts gathered by the outstanding Peruvian diplomat and statesman Miguel Mujica Gallo in the late XX century. I hope that this exhibition will be important step toward rapprochement of our countries and development of dialogue between the peoples of Russia and Latin America!
Director of the Russian Ethnographic Museum
Doctor V.M. Grusman
Foreword by the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation
I am glad to greet you and to congratulate you with inauguration of the exhibition “The Gold of the Inca Empire.God.Power.Eternity. 2000 Years of Great Civilization.
It is highly symbolic that this project starting at the Russian Museum of Ethnography is held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Peru and therefore, is aimed to strengthen inter-museum cooperation and to develop cross-cultural dialogue in general.
The objects displayed on the exhibition ―gold, silver and copper jewelry, masks and utensils, figurative ceramic vessels will tell Russian visitors about richness and diversity of ancient Peruvian archaeological cultures and help them to know about the people life in that epoch, their worldview, religious beliefs and values. Many of these exhibits are true masterpieces of jewelry art, which beauty couldn’t leave even the modern artists who are inspired by the traditions of past indifferent.
I would like to thank sincerely the collective of the museum “The Peru Gold”, administration of Saint Petersburg, the Embassies of the Republic of Peru and the Russian Federation and all who made their contribution to realization of this project. I am convinced that it will become remarkable event in cultural life of the northern capital of Russia, provoke broad social response and attract considerable public attention.
I wish success to the organizers of exhibition and bright and unforgettable impressions to its guests.
The Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation
FOREWORD BY THE AMBASSADOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF PERU IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
This unique event organized with the participation of the Peru Gold Museum and the collaboration of the Ministries of Culture of Peru and the Russian Federation, the Russian Museum of Ethnography and the support of the Embassy of Peru in the Russian Federation is important tangible example of state-private initiatives undertaken with purpose to strengthen more relations between our peoples.
The Ancient Peruvians skillfully worked metals. Embossing, rolling, engraving, soldering, and alloying were used by Peruvian jewelers centuries ago. The exhibits of the Peru Gold Museum that you can see on the exhibition “The Gold of the Inca Empire. God. Power. Eternity. 2000 years of Great Civilization” reflect the results of jewelers’ work throughout many centuries of Peruvian history, predominantly of the Pre-Inca period. The exhibition presents various adornments: embossed and engraved nose rings, filigree sets, earplugs, earrings, pectorals, funeral masks and other objects specially selected for this occasion.
I am convinced that the presentation of this exhibition to the Russian people, the society with immense cultural heritage will help to strengthen further the historical ties of friendship between the Republic of Peru and the Russian Federation through mutual knowledge of our cultures.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Peru in the Russian Federation
FOREWORD BY THE AMBASSADOR OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IN THE REPUBLIC OF PERU
In relation to the inauguration of the exhibition “The Gold of the Inca Empire. God. Power. Eternity. 2000 years of Great Civilization” in Saint Petersburg organized with participation of the Peru Gold Museum and support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Peru and the Russian Museum of Ethnography I would like to not that this event takes place in the days when we celebrate the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Peru on the level of our embassies. Our countries are united by long history of collaborative relations originating in the times of the Russian Empire. In 1969 the Soviet Union and Peru established diplomatic relations and close cooperation in various fields including the sphere of culture started.
The exhibition contain 86 valuable original objects of the ancient Peruvian civilizations which through the depth of centuries bring their message to modern man, enriching our view on human development in the South American continent long before its discovery by the Old World.
We are glad to welcome this exhibition in Russian land believing that cultural contacts and exchanges especially of so large scale as in this case always mean intensification of understanding and friendship between our people and mark one more step towards strengthening peace in our planet.
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of The Russian Federation in the Republic of Peru
FOREWORD BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE FUNDACIÓN MIGUEL MUJICA GALLO
The pieces included in this collection are a group of artifacts, gathered over the years, by Mr. Miguel Mujica Gallo, my father, to whom we owe the possibility of being able to appreciate them in all their magnificence, as a result of his tenacity, love to art and beauty.
The 86 pieces of artwork presented in this exhibition belong to different pre-Columbian cultures located in the north and south of the national territory: Moche, Frías, Vicus, Chimu, Lambayeque, Nasca, Wari, Tiwanaku and Inca. They are made of gold, silver, gilded silver, copper, golden copper and clay; some of them are inlaid with semiprecious stones such as chrysocolla, turquoise and sodalite. The oldest cultures, such as Vicus and Frías, date back to 200 and 300 years B.C., respectively. While all the others belong to centuries ranging from I to XV of the Christian era. Most of the objects were meant to be used, only in religious ceremonies when they paid homage to Sun God, in which only male elements were involved.
We hope that after admiring our beloved exhibition, you will feel encouraged to visit Peru, its country of origin, a place so far away from yours, but full of surprises, and that you will be able to know, in situ, the descendants of these original and exotic ornaments makers.
Ms. Milagros Mujica Diez Canseco
The President of the Fundación Miguel Mujica Gallo. Lima, Peru.
The Incas: The Most Mysterious Civilization of all Time
The Inca Empire is one of the most advanced and sophisticated cultures in world history. The Incas emerged at the turn of the 13th century and established the empire which occupied the entire territory of Peru, extending to Columbia, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and Ecuador, with a population of more than 7 million people.
According to one of their legends, a very long time ago, complete darkness reigned over the world. There were no laws, religion or order, and people lived in terrible conditions, almost like animals. So, the god of the sun Inti showed mercy on the people and sent his children to the prominent crag of the Island of the Sun (Isla del Sol): Manco Capac with his sister and wife Mama Ocllo. The sun god gave them a golden staff and ordered them to settle where the staff sank in the ground from the first strike. After roaming for long, they came to the Watanay River valley. There, Manco Capac thrust his golden staff into the ground and it sank without resistance. With this divine gesture, the location for the future capital of the Inca Empire was determined. The city of Cuzco, which in the language of the Incas means ‘the navel of the world’.
This city, inscribed in 1983 on the UNESCO World Heritage List, still astounds with its look of ancient Inca times. Its solid walls, which continue to serve as the wall for almost half of the buildings in the centre of the city, seem to have been built for eternity.
The major earthquake of 1650 demonstrated the mastery of Inca builders. Almost all Spanish colonial buildings were severely damaged or destroyed. Only the solid Inca foundations, laid without mortar, survived these tremors.
The Incas built their densely populated cities at breathtaking, dizzying heights of the Andes, on steep slopes and peaks thousands of metres high.
In addition, the Incas built an extensive road system – perhaps only comparable to that of Romans ¬– extending from the north to the south of the vast Inca Empire. They also developed an impressive courier system allowing any message to be delivered to the most far-flung corners of the empire through a relay system in a matter of days. The Inca road system, covering 23,000 km, is also inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The roads traverse six South American countries, right up to the Andean highlands.
Moreover, the Incas developed a sophisticated record-keeping system using “talking knots” (quipus), which accurately recorded tax collection in the state. According to information available today, the Incas had two types of quipu: one for statistical record-keeping of valuable objects (e.g., stocks, the number of people, animals, plants and plots of land), while the other used for information exchange, such as correspondence. Quipu remains an unsolved mystery of this culture.
The miraculous rise of Inca culture to a world empire remains the most fantastic story of our human culture and leaves many mysteries unresolved. How did this people – considering that modern archaeologists have not found a single trace of famine – manage to build such a great state, both militarily and culturally, without the wheel, draught cattle, a writing system, money, iron and much other things? How did the Incas conquer all the neighbouring countries and subjugated them, and by that establishing one of the most significant and mysterious civilizations in human history? Were the Inca an American Indian people from the territory of present-day Peru? Were they the descendants of the Vikings or the Chinese, or maybe even one of the lost tribes of Israel?
The myth about the Incas is endlessly fascinating and still not fully unravelled. It captivates the imagination and inspires awe and will continue to do so even after all mysteries have been elucidated.
The Gold of the Inca Empire: God, Power, Eternity. 2000 Years of a Great Civilization
The Exhibition “The Gold of the Inca Empire: God, Power, Eternity. 2000 Years of a Great Civilization” will be on show between 27 March and 1 August 2019 at the Russian Ethnography Museum, St. Petersburg. This will be the first time this world-renowned exhibition is on display in St. Petersburg. It will offer visitors an exhaustive view of Inca traditions and rites, and of Andean cultures predating them, and that existed before the Spanish conquest.
The artefacts are on loan from the collection of the famous Gold Museum in Lima, Peru (Museo Oro Del Peru), which owns one of the largest private collections of pre-Columbian Peruvian art in the world. The Gold Museum of Peru was founded in 1960 by the Peruvian politician and collector Miguel Mujica Gallo.
“The Gold of the Inca Empire: God, Power, Eternity. 2000 Years of a Great Civilization” legendary exhibition offers the residents of St. Petersburg inhabitants and all Russians interested in art a rare opportunity to see the unique treasures of the sophisticated Inca civilization and the pre-Inca cultures. The gold of the Incas and those ancient peoples who brought forth the early cultures of Peru not only reflects the material riches accumulated during the pre-Columbian era but is also testament to the spiritual and artistic achievements of the early Indian peoples of Peru.
The world-famous artefacts, which will be displayed in St. Petersburg for the first time, spans a time period of at least 2000 years. The 86 exhibits, some of which will be displayed outside Peru for the first time, are valuable works of art, demonstrating the mysterious allure of the Incas and the most notable pre-Columbian cultures of South America. All the artefacts and treasures of this exhibition were discovered in the tombs of the dead and served them on their way to the underworld.
The objects presented in this exhibition will satisfy the most demanding and sophisticated connoisseurs of culture with their exceptional diversity. In addition to jewellery and ornaments with mythical imagery, there are also votive and religious objects, objects of everyday life and musical instruments.
This sensational exhibition will mark the jubilee of 50 years of diplomatic relations established in the spring of 1969 between Russia and Peru.
Over the course of four months, housed in a luxurious marble hall of the Russian Ethnography Museum in St. Petersburg, visitors will get the chance to admire valuable gold artworks and learn more about the life of the people and communities of the lost era and faraway lands.
We hope that this better understanding will contribute to the consolidation of relations between Russia and Peru and help reaffirm the true value of this country’s culture and history.
All exhibits on display are part of Peru’s national cultural heritage. These objects are unique given that Peruvian goldsmiths, on religious grounds, never replicated their works.
These exhibits constitute only a small part of the legendary infinite gold trove of the Incas. The majority was melted into ingots by Spanish conquerors and taken out of the country. A large number has been preserved nonetheless. Visitors of the State Ethnography Museum in St. Petersburg will have the opportunity to view these specimens and, surrounded by many other artefacts from the Gold Museum of Peru, will be immersed in the atmosphere of one of the most enigmatic and sophisticated cultures in the history of the world.
The exhibition invites curious visitors on an expedition to the Inca Empire, to learn about their beliefs and conceptions of Gods, Power, and their aspiration for Eternity.
Miguel Mujica Gallo
Miguel Mujica Gallo was born in 1910 in Lima and was one the most outstanding representatives of the Peruvian political and cultural elite.
He served his country as minister and ambassador to many countries. Miguel Mujica Gallo also gained world respect and recognition as a collector of works of art. His admiration of the great artistic and historical tradition of Peru never waned. He was also interested in the history, art and folklore of other countries.
During his numerous trips to the most remote parts of Peru and around the world, this avid collector gathered wonderful works of art and weapons that belonged to famous people. Some of these objects are true treasures.
All these valuable objects, which include more than 8,000 artefacts in gold and silver, precious stones of the Inca epoch and other pre-Columbian Peruvian cultures, and the large collection of weapons and firearms from all over the world that he paid for personally, were bequeathed by Miguel Mujica Gallo to Peruvian culture. Today, they are displayed in the Gold Museum of Peru (Museo Oro del Peru) that he founded in 1960 in Lima and are on public view.
Many of the valuable artefacts presenting the pre-Columbian Peruvian art of goldwork from the Gold Museum of Peru collection were displayed in more than 70 cities in America, Asia and Europe, enjoying tremendous success all around the world. In every city, whether Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Washington, Stockholm, San-Francisco, Canberra, Vienna, Moscow, Berlin or other big and small cities, every time hundreds of thousands of visitors filled the exhibition halls to admire these treasures of world cultural heritage.
This is the realisation of Miguel Mujica Gallo’s will, as he always held that art was a special ambassador of its country and must thus not be exclusive to it but available to people from other states as part of the world cultural heritage.