Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon


James Blake Wiener
published on 11 February 2013

Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts)

Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon is the exhibition catalogue of a major traveling exhibition now on show at the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, Canada. Edited by Victor Pimentel--a curator of pre-Columbian art at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts--this splendid publication of over 350 pages goes far in revealing the extent to which both archaeology and cultural continuity have shaped the arts of Peru.

This visually striking catalogue affords a much-needed historical, archaeological, and ethnographic foray into Peru's artistic patrimony with 450 illustrations and essays by over 20 specialists and international experts. Far more than an exhibition catalogue, this volume delves into the exhibition's underlying theme of how a national identity is shaped through 4,000 years of history.

Special attention is given to Peru's often misunderstood and underappreciated, Pre-Columbian past. Over 100 Pre-Columbian treasures from among Peru's ancient civilizations--the Mochica, Chimú, Lambayeque, and Inca--are presented and contextualized with the latest research. The era of hybridization and concealment under the Spanish Viceroyalty is thoughtfully presented with little-known facts about artistic production and the fusion of indigenous and European imagery. Aficionados of modern art will be pleased in turn by well-written chapters on Indigenismo, graphic arts, and architecture.

Annexes include a detailed chronology, biographies of the exhibition curators, a most useful list of exhibited works and figures, as well as published references and several maps of Peru. Special mention must also be made of the interviews before the annexes.

The Ancient History Encyclopedia highly recommends this monumental work to art historians, archaeologists, ethnographers, and historians of Latin America. This volume will be published in English and French editions, via 5 Continents Editions in Milan, on March 19, 2013 in the United States. It is already available for purchase in Canada.

About the Reviewer

James Blake Wiener
James is a writer and former Professor of History. He holds an MA in World History with a particular interest in cross-cultural exchange and world history. He is a co-founder of Ancient History Encyclopedia and its Communications Director.