Friday, May 13, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en el museo

This afternoon I went to the National Museum (Museo de la Nacion) with my program. We were guided by our ever amusing and brilliant professor Jorge (no seriously, he's awesome) to see a variety of Peruvian history artifacts, from pottery to textiles to metalwork to paintings. I particularly enjoyed it because it gave me a chance to see a lot of things I've been reading and hearing about in classes. (Actually, the homework I was reading this morning was on Inca artisans)

Moche mask

Indigenous painting

Ceremonial costumes
Quipu - knotted string used by the Incas and earlier cultures as a mnemonic recording device. They could record everything from census records to battle results to narrative poetry.

Pottery from various PreInca cultures

The museum also featured an exhibit on the years of terrorism in Peru. It's not well-known outside Peru but from 1980-2000 Peru battled two communist terrorist groups, Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and MRTA (Revolutionary Movement Tupac Amaru). The violence was focused in the sierra region of Ayacucho; the truth and reconciliation commission has said that 69,000 people died in those 20 years, the fault of both the terrorists and excessive force by the military. 75% were Quechua-speaking indigenous Andean people. 50% were in the region of Ayacucho. This is still a current issue with the current presidential elections because Keiko Fujimori, a current candidate, is the daughter of Alberto Fujimori, the ex-president currently in jail for human rights violations during this war.

It was an intense but an interesting and important exhibit to see. It never ceases to astound me the horrible things people have done to other people.

Hands holding the photo of a "desaparecido" - a disappeared family member

Relatives of the dead of the Andean village all of whose residents were killed by the army. The terrorists waged a guerrilla war, seeking to blend in with the villagers. In this case the army killed an innocent person, so in an effort to erase the memory, they killed the entire town.

Hasta la proxima

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