Glistening golden crowns, awe-inspiring silver masks, human figure-shaped pottery jars, and time-honoured fabrics with mysterious patterns are some rarely seen items on display at "The Treasures of the Incas and Their Ancestors" at the National Museum of China in downtown Beijing .
Running until September 18, the exhibition is jointly organized by seven Peruvian museums and the National Museum of China.
For the first time, Chinese viewers may see 248 original pre-Hispanic-era pieces, many being funerary or sacrificial objects, that best exemplify the splendid ancient culture the Incas and their ancestors created many centuries ago, said Dong Qi, the museum's deputy director.
Best known for its location high in the Andes Mountains, with its massive peaks, steep canyons, and extraordinary pre-Columbian archaeological sites, Peru is located in the central part of the western coast of South America, stretching across 1,285,215 square kilometres and having a population of 23.5 million.
Peru's inhabitants are mostly of Andean stock in the highlands and mixed-blooded "mestizos" on the coast, blended in with a hefty influx of European blood, largely Spanish.
Once the centre of the Incan empire, established in the 11th century, Peru boasts of splendid historical treasures. The Incas were the creators and owners of the great civilization in the region until Spanish conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro conquered them between 1532 and 1535. By then, the Incan empire had become one of the largest in the world, graced by gold masterpieces, towns with great palaces and temple s, and an impressive network of roads. But this glittering culture only obscured the rich and diverse earlier civilizations that had preceded it Chavin, Moche, Nazca, Tiwanaku, Huari and Chimu.
In short, "the exhibition tells the visitors how ancient Peruvians turned natural resources into vivid and beautiful pieces of art about 5,000 years ago and how the Incas and their ancestors accumulated rich knowledge and skills to create their brilliant civilization, an indispensable part of cultural heritage of mankind," said Bertha G. Vargas Vargas, researcher with the Peru's National Institute of Culture, a key organizer of the exhibition.