Exhibition of funerary items found in pre-Inca priestess' tomb opens at museum in Peru

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Exhibition of funerary items found in pre-Inca priestess' tomb opens at museum in Peru
View of a golden crown on display during the inauguration of an exhibition of 62 archaeological pieces discovered in the tomb of a priestess of Peru's Sican pre-Inca culture, who lived 1,200 years ago, in Lima on August 17, 2012. The dignitary, whose tomb was discoved in October last year in the northern region of Lambayeque, was named Chornancap Priestess, archaeologist Carlos Wester La Torre said. AFP PHOTO/ERNESTO BENAVIDES.

Translated by: Cristina Perez-Ayala

LIMA.- The Minister of Culture of Peru, Luis Periano Falconí, inaugurated the "Priestess Lambayeque of the Chornancap, Mystery and History" exhibition, a selection of 62 pieces which had belonged to a high ranked woman of the Lambayeque culture, recently found in the Chotuna Chornancap Archaeological Complex. Minister Periano, gratified by the amazing discovery of the Chornancap Priestess and the exhibition of the funerary trousseau, referred to the work of the archaeologists at the Ministry of Culture, emphasizing their “commitment which goes much farther than any type of political or economic matters”.

“The meaning of the word «culture», acquires vigor when we find ourselves with professionals that do this kind of work, in this sense, culture goes before politics and economics. Whichever the case, politics and economics are given purpose because of culture and that renews our commitment to keep working”, Peirano Falconí added.

The exhibition’s contents reveal the presence of a high ranked and religious feminine individual who, between the XII and XIII centuries d.C., fulfilled special functions worthy of a priestess. It’s an amazing testimony of a woman, who while living, represented the Lambayeque culture and whom in death, demonstrates all the splendor of her power and authority.

Carlos Wester, director of the Chotuna Chornancap Archaeological Complex, insisted that the importance of this finding stands out when you consider “the feminine character, in a place where women became leading priestesses with great power in their communities”.

During the exhibition, it is possible to appreciate the funerary mask of the priestess, made up in one gold foil, her ceremonial scepter, earflaps and a gold crown, bimetallic cups, bracelets, necklaces, and a pectoral Spondyllus shell. Also, a cloak painted with copper and a great variety of Lambayeque and Cajamarca styled ceramic that reveals the link between these two societies.

After the investigation, reconstruction and conservation of the funerary trousseau in the Brüning Museum, the Minister of Culture presents the first lot of these pieces, in the Kuélap showroom of its central venue, until the 15th of October.

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August 19, 2012

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