Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Peru! Part 2: Peruvian Gold

On July 14, 2011 at 6am  Rachael and I departed our hotel in Trujillo for a 1-day tour of Chiclayo.  Jim had contracted a mild case of South American gastritis, and opted to stay behind.  The 3-hour bus ride was very comfortable.

Once in the  Chiclayo, we hooked up with a tour group.  I didn't understand Spanish, and two of our fellow tourists didn't understand English, so Juan our guide gave the tour in two languages.

I VIEWED REAL PERUVIAN GOLD WITH MY BARE EYES!  It is very rare, a precious archaeological find.  Wow.  Peruvian gold was plentiful before the Spaniards invaded in 1632.  But the Spaniards shipped all the gold they could find back to Spain.  They even raided sacred Moche and Incan burial sites to get gold.  Once in Spain most of the beautiful golden ornaments were melted down to make coins.
Replica of ornaments for the Lord of Sipan, Moche culture, 300 A.D.

In 1987 the tomb of the Lord of Sipan was discovered--a tomb the Spaniards didn’t find.  Wow!  It was too deep.  The Spaniards didn't bother digging down six meters.  The artifacts of Sipan are amazing! 

Buried along with the king, who was presumed to be sort of a living deity, were companions joining him on his journey to the afterlife:  A Moche warrior, a priest, three female concubines approximately 15 years of age, an 8 year-old boy, a dog, two llamas, 212 food and beverage vessels, and a guard with his feet cut off so that he wouldn’t leave the Lord.  The companions were probably obligated to drink poison.  

The artifacts from the Sipan archaeological site now reside in the Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan, an incredibly contemporary structure situated the otherwise sleepy city of Lambayeque.

Here's what else we saw on our day tour:
Tucume Pyramids.  Originally constructed by the Sican culture, in 1000 A.D.  Later occupied by the Chimus in the 14th century, and finally, occupied by the Incas.  There are 26 pyramids.  We climbed up to the top of a hill and viewd them all!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Peru! Part 1

This summer I spent 10 days in Northern Peru.  My oldest daughter Rachael was an LDS missionary there for 18 months.  She served in the Peru, Trujillo mission.

When she completed her mission Jim and I went down to Peru to tour the areas where she served.
At the Mercado near Trujillo's Plaza de Armas

Cardboard/plywood house
in an impoverished area of Salaverry
Jim enjoying Peruvian cuisine in Lima.
We spent our first day in Lima.
At a Menu in Moche.  A "Menu" is a small cafe
someone operates in their front yard.
At a church activity in Trujillo
At home with La familia Guillen.  Hermana Bettina Guillen
was Rachael's pensionista in Trujillo.  Bettina is a wonderful cook!
We spent the first few days on the coast in the cities of Trujillo and Salaverry, visiting friends and touring archaeological sites.  Peru has the absolute best Ancient American ruins. We visits several sites where ritual human sacrifices occurred.   Morbid, I know, but fascinating.

Huaca Del Luna, Moche culture, 100 A.D. to 700 A.D.  Every 20-30 years the Moches would perform human sacrifices at this site.  They believed the sacrifices would encourage the gods to improve the weather for farming.  Young men would engage in ritual battles.  The warriors wore big hats.  During the battle, the first warrior to lose his hat would be selected for sacrifice.

Moche Warriors.  The top reliefs show the victors of the ritual battles wearing headdresses.
The bottom image shows the losers being taken for sacrifice.

A priestess inside the temple would perform the sacrifice by beheading the young men.  She would then collect the blood in some sort of pottery, bring it to the top of the temple wall, and pour it down the wall.  That made them feel better (??)
We're standing in front of the wall where citizens would wait for the priestess to show them the blood of the decapitated sacrifice victims.

 The Moches eventually abandoned the site because the weather turned really bad (an aggressive El Nino).  The human sacrifices didn’t seem to be working to appease the gods, so they gave it up.
Huaca Del Luna is all Preservation, no Restoration.
The colors in the wall are over 1500 years old.
The guy in the center is Ai-Apaek, also known as El Degollador (the decapitator).  He is said to have the hair of the sea and eyes of an owl.  Notice he doesn't have a body!  Hmm. I wonder why.
Chan Chan city, Tschudi Palace, Chimu culture, 1300 A.D.  An administrative center with government offices.  Ritual human sacrifice victims here were children and young women of childbearing age .  The Chimus did not have a written language, nor did they make images telling stories about their sacrifices.  We don’t know why they chose women and children or how the victims were selected.  The victims may have been enemy captives, sacrificed to limit enemy population growth.

Rachael and I in the main courtyard, the Sanctuary, where the religious ceremonies and human sacrifices were held.  The wall is restored.  The statues are Incan replicas, and were not part of Chan Chan city or the Chimu culture.  They were put there to look cool and make a nice photo op.
Some of the original adobe.  The friezes have largely been eroded.  
The original walls were 59 feet high.
In all, Chan Chan has nine palaces that were personal domains of the Chimu chieftans, but only the Tschudi palace has been restored.  When a chieftain died he was buried in the palace along with 500-1000 sacrificed palace residents..  The Chimus believed that the spirits of the palace residents continued to walk around and conduct business, just as they had in mortality. The residents sacrificed themselves to be with their chieftan.

This area was government offices with numerous of adobe cubicles.
You can see original friezes here, geometric and animal motifs

These are mythological animals.  Below them is a fishing net motif.  In other areas of Chan Chan you can see friezes of sea otters, pelicans and other marine birds, and fish.