By Corey Sandler
We arrived early this morning at the port of Callao, Peru’s principal outlet to the sea, about ten miles from the capital city of Lima.
Lima is the third-largest city of the Americas: São Paulo in Brazil has about 12 million inhabitants, and then Mexico City just barely edges into second place with about 9 million residents. Lima counts 8.9 million in its sprawling city, and millions more in the surrounding urban sprawl.
I’ve been to Lima a number of times and have enjoyed strolling its Plaza de Armas with a handsome collection of Spanish Colonial structures.
Today, though, I went with a group of guests for an unusual inside view of one of the most impressive private museum collections in the world: the Larco Herrera Museum.
Rafael Larco Herrera, from a wealthy family with sugar cane holdings, devoted much of his life to collecting artifacts from the rich prehistory of Peru. By some estimates, there are about 87 different known tribes and peoples who inhabited the west coast of South America in and around what is now Peru.
Larco’s collection, amassed between about 1925 and 1966, is astounding, with thousands of objects on display. But the real thrill for me was to get a glimpse of the museum’s storage closet, home to perhaps another 50,000 more pieces of pottery, jewelry and other adornment, and textiles. We were led through the collection by one of the curators.
I performed no looting, taking home only memories and photos. Here are a few:
The Garden of Earthly Delights and Monsters
Almost every piece on the shelves of the storage area of the Larco Herrera would be a treasure at another museum.
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