The Incan empire ran almost the extent of the west coast of South America. Looking at a map Cusco is about midway from N to S. It’s a pretty city. The main square

Some streets look like this, very narrowDSC02708

Some are malls

Lots of peculiar hybrids

Wooden balconies everywhere

Which we’re partial to

The opening photo was taken from the balcony underneath the right-hand clock.

Entering the church camera in hand the lady said ‘Sir, it’s not possible to take photographs in the church, but from the balcony it’s OK’. But despite her fears the photos inside turned out fineDSC02633

After being so impressed by the Lima Larco I headed off to MAP, the Museo de Arte PreColombino

The front desk. Something familiar about this, but it isn’t coming to me

Stunning and ceramics focused. Here’s the kicker: as far as I could see the entire contents are on loan from the Larco in Lima. I’ll definitely have to read more about how one man went about collecting an entire culture’s collateral.

I don’t want to be a bore and use words that are too strong but it’s said some artisans within the Mochica, as it’s called by Larco, but more commonly referred to as the Mocha civilization, somehow achieved genius. They have an excellent Henry Moore quote in the reception that nails it and has been the backbone of at least one corporate success story I can think of:

…this is an art not yet suffocated by meaningless ornamentation and false glitter; an art in which sheer inspiration is still innocent of technical artifice and intellectual lucubration…

Anyway, I wrestled with getting into this or not and that’s the short form.

This may be the greatest of the Mocicha pieces here. A stunning display of confidence. The gallery description beside it was over-enthusiastic reading as well, much to my relief, so you don’t have to take my word for it. It’s from about 1 – 800 AD and I badly want it.

A corn toaster

A bottle

Here’s a figure from the Cupisnique culture from 1250 BC to 1 AD that needs more than a glance to see

I think I photographed half of the gallery and spent most of the day there. And ceramics aren’t my thing at all.

As said before Cusco was the capital of the Inca empire. So off we go to Qurikancha, El Templo del Sol. Here’s the building, a mix of an ancient Incan temple, a Spanish public needs church, and a Dominican monastery. A part of this, that you can’t see from this, was the most important building ever built by the Incans. When the Spanish first saw it the floors and walls were covered in gold sheet. The gardens were full of life-size solid gold animals and personages. They called it ‘opulent beyond belief’ but that didn’t stop them from promptly melting down possibly the continent’s greatest ever achievement.

On a lighter side, the best example of precision Incan masonry is here and there’s lots of it. The Incan’s had useful architectural design constraints based on their beliefs. Units of 3, three worlds, and 2, duality. In this photo there are two ‘halls’ with a space between. The first is the temple of the rainbow, the middle space (don’t need to explain) is for water ceremonies, and the second structure is thunder. This is the core remaining structure of Qurikancha and all you need to see if pressed for a visual Coles notes

The secret to the precision masonry: of the three social classes, the third and the bulk of the population paid taxes in the form of labour, for six months a year dedicated to the state. So it’s all about sheer man hours, maybe numbered in the thousands for a single block of stone. You can lift it off and dial it in a bit better countless times. The slippage in the corner of this pic here was caused by earthquake. Incredible

Inside the walls are staples and various other techniques to add stability, beyond the trapezoidal construction.

Same as the MAP description above, just a few photo’s and none of the actual story yet as we’re still way behind on posts, thanks to wi-fi weakness even in decent places. Things seen and done are missing.

Lucinda is still not well. No immediate fix is on the horizon for the ignition gremlin and we’re going to have to work out a delivery and installation location for the new front brake pump. We’re hoping both will be resolved in Arequipa.



3 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Trine,

    The people look happy. I love the couple in blue holding hands.

  2. That was really interesting re the Mocicha art. Beautiful – that one that looks like a two headed cat. Cool.

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