Dr. Wilda Reviews art exhibit: Seattle Art Museum presents ‘Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon’

18 Oct

“Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

William Penn

Moi attended the press briefing for ‘Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon’ at the Seattle Art Museum(SAM).  Here are the details of the exhibit:

Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon

October 17, 2013–January 5, 2014

SAM Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

The ‘Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon’ exhibit had several themes running through the exhibit:

  1. The artifacts assembled for the exhibit had never been in one place together before. They came from Peruvian museums, museums, from all over the world and private collections. Hence the William Penn quote to open this review.
  2. These artifacts represent the 3,000 year journey toward a Peruvian national identity.
  3. Peru is one of the six cradles of civilization along with Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China and Mexico.
  4. The craftsman exhibited by the items represent the indigenous innovation which occurred in Peru which was independent of innovation which was occurring in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
  5. There is a duality evident in the religion, art, and culture of Peru. Peru is both an ancient culture and modern country.

There are about 300 pieces of art and artifacts which represent 3,000 years of the different periods in Peruvian history. Lonely Planet gives a good capsule view of Peruvian history.



Knowing a bit about Peru really does enhance the visitor’s’ understanding of the exhibition. Here is a country brief from the Australian government http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/peru/peru_brief.html  An advance warning, you will probably want to plan a return visit to really get a feel for the treasures on display. Better yet, the visitor will want to participate in some of the activities planned around the show. Here are a few of the planned activities:




SAM Downtown / 5–8 pm

Join us as SAM celebrates educators! This FREE event is open to all K–12 educators interested in getting a sneak peek of the special exhibition, Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon. Get free …






SAM Downtown / 7–8 pm

Victor Pimentel, Curator of Pre-Columbian Art at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and curator of Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon, discusses the breathtaking new exhibition at SAM, which includes rarely se…






SAM Downtown / 6:30–9:30 pm

Patron, Friend and Fellow members are invited to a festive evening of wine, light hors d’oeuvres and entertainment in celebration of Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon. Premier Members will receive ma…





SAM Downtown / noon–1 pm

Martín Chambi created a comprehensive body of photographs from 1920-1950 of Andean culture and history, documenting archeological sites, native peoples, and local customs. His sensitive and penetrating works reveal the social complexity of Andean culture in …






SAM Downtown / 11 am–12:15 pm

The ACCESS program provides monthly docent-led tours of the museum’s collection to visitors with low or no vision. ACCESS SAM is a docent-led initiative to increase docent skills in meeting the needs of all SAM visitors. This month’s tour explores the museum’s special exhibitionREAD MORE




SAM Downtown / 1:15–2:15 pm

Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon is a landmark exhibition that features over two hundred works of art. In this 60-minute tour, visitors will encounter wonders of Peruvian culture spanning from ancient to moder…


The ‘Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon’ is simply breathtaking, not only in the scope, but the quality of the individual items. Seattle is privileged to be the only city in the U.S. to host this exhibit and everyone is urged to go at least once. To paraphrase William Penn, an exhibit of this quality from Peru may never come this way again.

This is a definite thumbs up, must attend.


Slideshow: “Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon” at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art                                                                                                            http://www.blouinartinfo.com/ancient-art-antiques/slideshow/870815-peru-kingdoms-of-the-sun-and-the-moon-at-the-montreal#image=8

Peru : Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon – YouTube                                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp4HL5dNzZw

WORLD PREMIERE OF PERU: KINGDOMS OF THE SUN AND THE MOON             http://www.artfixdaily.com/artwire/release/4835-world-premiere-of-peru-kingdoms-of-the-sun-and-the-moon

Here is the press release from SAM:

For Immediate Release

Contact: Wendy Malloy, SAM Public Relations
(206) 654-3151; email: PR@SeattleArtMuseum.org


SAM is the only U.S. venue for this comprehensive collection of rare Peruvian treasures covering 3,000 years of history

Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon
October 17, 2013–January 5, 2014

 CONTACT: Cara Egan, Seattle Art Museum P.R., 206-748-9285/carae@seattleartmuseum.org

Wendy Malloy, Seattle Art Museum P.R., 206- 654-3151/ wendym@seattleartmuseum.org


October 17, 2013-January 5, 2014

SAM is the only U.S. venue for this comprehensive collection of rare Peruvian treasures covering 3,000 years of history

SEATTLE – July 31, 2013 – This fall, Seattle Art Museum (SAM) will present Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon. On display from October 17, 2013 through

January 5, 2014, the exhibition features more than 300 spectacular treasures chronicling Peru’s rich cultural history from the Pre-Hispanic era to the Colonial period and from independence to the modern art movement of Indigenism.

SAM is the only U.S. venue for this exhibition and its first location after its world premiere at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA).

Uncover a millennia-old culture now considered one of the six cradles of civilization along with Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China and Mexico. Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon invites visitors to discover Peru’s vibrant history and experience this vital and ancient country during its most influential and identity-forming periods.

“SAM is honored to be the only museum in the United States to host this breathtaking exhibition of rare Peruvian art spanning 30 centuries” said Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director. “The exhibition provides visitors with an opportunity to experience the power, beauty and mystery of these remarkable objects and the window they provide into history.”

Many of Peru’s ancient treasures and artifacts are included in this spectacular exhibition, including a rare Mochica forehead ornament (pictured above) made of gold and shells. It is being exhibited for the first time in the United States since its return to Peru in 2006. Crafted for a Mochica ruler between 100 and 800 A.D., this ornament is believed to have been buried at a site on Peru’s northern coast. Looted in 1988, and later recovered by Scotland Yard in London, the piece was returned to Peru in 2006.


Superb and rarely seen works of sculpture, metalwork, painting and textiles from the Mochica, Chimú and Inca cultures give visitors a taste of Pre-Columbian Peru’s rich cultural heritage. One of the most complete sets of adornments known today is included in the exhibition. The seven-piece set of head and body ornaments, made of an alloy of gold, silver and copper, gives an idea of the rich body ornamentation belonging to the Chimú elite.

Paintings of saints and liturgical processions provide insight into the initial overlay of Christianity and the syncretism drawing from indigenous and Spanish religious traditions following the Spanish conquest in 1532. A selection of Peruvian post-independence artworks is showcased illustrating the re-emergence of native aesthetic identities and the reaffirmation of Peru’s local heritage after independence from Spain in 1821 and into modern times.

Mythical Peru, the cradle of Andean civilization, and its Pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern history is examined and explored in sections organized thematically and historically.

The organization of this exhibition provides insights of breadth and depth into the ebb and flow of ancient cultures and their art, the artistry that resulted from Spanish and native interactions, and the works of the modern era that re-established a Peruvian aesthetic and identity. The principal thematic thread that unifies the show is the reverence for the past and pride in having one of the longest histories of artistic excellence and invention.

“The sophistication of the Peruvian artistry stands out in this exhibition,” said Barbara Brotherton, SAM’s Curator of Native American Art. “Beautifully crafted works in ceramic, noble metals, precious stones and alpaca fiber dazzle the eye and speak to the importance of art and its connection to political and visual diplomacy. Stunning paintings and sculptures attest to the inventive ways artists negotiated two different world views while, after independence, modern Peruvian artists who envisioned an inclusive society used prints, photographs, paintings and popular arts to deploy their messages. ”


The first section explains how archaeology rewrote Peru’s national history with photographs of Machu Picchu, the Incan citadel, by American explorer Hiram Bingham during his excavation of the site beginning in 1911. It continues through to more recent restitutions of artworks back to Peru, describing along the way how each archeological discovery acted as a source of identity for Peruvians during the era of nation building in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The second section focuses on the myths and rituals of the early civilizations of the Andes including the discovery in 1987 of the first intact tomb of a ruler of ancient Peru which lead to the discovery of a total of 15 royal tombs. The human remains of the “Lord of Sipán” were found in a wooden coffin along with an impressive set of ornaments and emblems in gold, silver and turquoise. This discovery, by archeologist Walter Alva, is the most significant find in Peru since that of Machu Picchu.

The relationship with death, particularly the constant dialogue between the world of the living and the dead, is an essential component of Andean spirituality. This section of the exhibition will focus on objects associated with the sacrificial ceremonies practiced by the Mochica people (200 to 800 C. E.) and the funerary rites of the Chimú and Lambayeque cultures (11th and 15th century C.E.).

The third section illustrates the perpetuation, concealment, and hybridization of the indigenous culture during the colonial period. Beginning with the Spanish conquest in the 16th century C.E. and continuing until Peru’s independence in 1821, this section features paintings and ceremonial objects that illustrate both the adoption of Catholicism and the syncretism and blending of Christianity with indigenous religious practices and cultural values.

The final section highlights the rediscovery of indigenous Peruvian culture in the 20th century and the revalorization of ancient symbols of identity in contemporary Peruvian iconography. Works in this section demonstrate the idealization of Peru’s Pre-Hispanic past, especially the Inca Empire, as well as an overarching interest with the contemporary local subjects of indigenous peoples and the Peruvian countryside, exploring the way this recombination of the past with the present has transformed Peruvian art in the Modern period.

Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon exhibition is organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The Seattle presentation of this exhibition is made possible with critical funding provided by SAM’s Fund for Special Exhibitions.


Exhibition Sponsors are Microsoft and the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture. Major Sponsors are Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, the Snoqualmie Tribe, Starbucks and Wells Fargo. Additional support is provided by Port Madison Enterprises and the Kreielsheimer Exhibition Endowment. Print Media Sponsor is The Seattle Times. Official Airlines Sponsor is Delta Air Lines.


Seattle Art Museum (SAM) provides a welcoming place for people to connect with art and to consider its relationship to their lives. SAM is one museum in three locations: SAM Downtown, Seattle Asian Art Museum at Volunteer Park, and the Olympic Sculpture Park on the downtown waterfront. SAM collects, preserves and exhibits objects from across time and across cultures, exploring the dynamic connections between past and present.


Frontal ornament with feline head and octopus tentacles ending in catfish heads, 100 – 800 AD, Gold, chrysocolla, shells, 11 1/4 × 16 5/16 × 1 3/4in. (28.5 × 41.4 × 4.5cm), Photo: Daniel Giannoni

Set of Ornaments, Chimú culture, North coast, AD 1000-1476, Gold, silver and copper alloy, 46.6 x 21.9 cm (approx.), Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera, Lima.

Inhabitant of the Peruvian Highlands, 1855, Francisco Laso, Peruvian, 1823 – 1869, Oil on canvas, 54 5/16 × 34 5/8in. (138 × 88cm), Pinacoteca Municipal “Ignacio Merino” de la Municipalidad Metropolitana de Lima

Ornament in the shape of a human head, 100 – 800 A.D, Mochica, Gold, silver, lapis lazuli, 6 1/8 × 6in. (15.5 × 15.2cm), Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipán, Lambayeque

Earspool depicting a warrior, 100 – 800 A.D., Mochica, Gold, turquoise, wood, 3 5/8in. (9.2cm), Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipán, Lambayeque,

Virgin of the Fifth Seal, About 1740, Polychromed wood, silver, 26 1/2in. (67.3cm), New Orleans Museum of Art

Where information leads to Hope. ©Dr. Wilda.com

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