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Chavín

PERU’S MYSTERIOUS TEMPLE IN THE ANDES
  • Chavin Überblick

    Temple site
    Chavín de Huántar, first millenium BC
    Ph
    oto: Peter Fux, Museum Rietberg

  • Overview

    The exhibition was conceived in collaboration with leading archaeologists in the field and the Peruvian Ministry of Culture. It presents the first overview of the art and culture of Chavín and equally importantly – for the protection of the world cultural heritage of Chavín – it initiates international cooperation between Peru and Switzerland: with the latest technology and the use of laser-scanners and aerial photogrammetry, the state of the whole temple and its sculptures was measured and documented in spring 2012. Together with the Swiss Federal Office for Culture, Museum Rietberg is also funding the creation of a restoration workshop for stone sculptures in which from August 2012 Swiss specialists in close collaboration with local apprentices have been sharing knowledge to preserve the endangered cultural artefacts.

    Thanks to this engagement on site, Museum Rietberg can now present some 200 artefacts for the first time: large stone sculptures and reliefs of supernatural human/animal composite creatures which have never left Chavín before, precious clay vessels from the subterranean galleries of the temple, the oldest ritual gold jewellery of the whole of the Americas, and colourful, large-format textiles. The design of the exhibition echoes the temple of Chavín. Whoever was allowed to enter the temple many

    thousand years ago had sensory experiences which in the exhibition are replicated with objects but also with sound and film – interpreted in a modern way – and made accessible to everyone.

    Two films have been produced especially for the exhibition. An animation (approx. 15 min.) visualises the architecture and the entire natural space of the temple. Leading archaeologists John W. Rick (Stanford University) and Luis G. Lumbreras (Lima) contributed as consultants to the virtual representation of the temple and the introduction to the architecture and its history. A documentary film (approx. 34 min.) by Marion Friedrich Honegger and Otto C. Honegger explores the archaeology of Chavín in more depth.

    Apart from monumental architecture, sound and music also served the priestly elite as means for the transition into another state of perception, for audiences with the gods. In spring this year, the Peruvian saxophonist Jean Pierre Magnet and the Swiss trombonist Michael Flury found inspiration on site. The result was several concerts in Lima, Chavín and Zurich. With the pututus, conch-shell trumpets, which were excavated in the temple, Flury has created a sound installation which takes the visitor to the exhibition at Museum Rietberg into the mysterious spheres of Chavín.

    In collaboration with the Ministerio de Cultura del Perú and the Swiss Federal Office for Culture


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