Care to take a step back in time to one of the world’s greatest civilizations? The Seattle Art Museum's current historical gallery, PERU: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon, displays the treasures and culture of the powerful Incan empire as well as the history of Peru itself. With over 300 exhibits that are making an appearance for the first time ever in the United States, this is one gallery that you don’t want to miss.
From Oct. 17 to Jan. 4, you can witness the many historical artifacts, some of which have never before been seen outside of Peru and that represent the culture, rituals, conquest, and colonization of the country. Each step you take is like another decade through time. Your journey through time begins with a beautiful time lapse film of Machu Picchu, and from there you learn about is discoverers, the colonization, early culture and so on until you reach Peruvian modern art that has been created recently.
What is truly impressive is the amount of craftsmanship and detail that goes into these precious gems and metals. A simple cup can have intricate patterns that cover the entire surface with perfectly cleaned gems placed around it. This only becomes more impressive when European influence comes into the mix. You can see such attention to detail in such works as Depósito eucarístico con forma de pelícano (Eucharistic urn in the shape of a pelican), which will take your breath away with its grand scale and aesthetics, orThe Golden Octopus, the most famous of all the pieces in the gallery.
Its not just the most precious of metals and jewels that are impressive, but also the small clay vases and figures. While the more valuable works express the traditions and the wealth of Peru, it’s the wood and clay that shows what the commoner from what we now consider modern day Peru would create or own. It is almost a shame that the intricate creations would be used for such simple things as holding water.
SAM’s PERU: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon is an exhibit that would be a shame to miss. You don’t need to be a huge art buff to be able to appreciate the magnificence of these artifacts. Going through will give you a whole new appreciation for Peruvian culture, the Incan empire, and its predecessors. So go and discover the treasure for yourself!