Larco Museum's Erotic Art – Cercado de Lima, Peru - Atlas Obscura
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Cercado de Lima, Peru

Larco Museum's Erotic Art

The large collection of pre-Columbian pottery might make you blush. 

The Larco Museum is packed with archaeological treasures that celebrate Peruvian pre-Columbian history. It’s full of ceramic artifacts that illustrate how these cultures represented their everyday lives, including their sex lives.

Many pieces within the museum’s Erotic Gallery show scenes that depict reproduction. However, multiple pieces represent rituals of non-reproductive sexual acts, like oral and anal sex as well as masturbation. Some pieces were intended to be humorous, while others show humans, divine beings, and even skeletons engaged in erotic encounters.

Quite a few pieces celebrate fertility and maternity. In the artwork, the woman is often touched, caressed, kissed, or penetrated. Ceramic vessels also show pregnant women, women giving birth, and women breastfeeding.

The Larco Museum believes this erotic pottery is a unique and interesting opportunity for people to approach sexuality, free of their own prejudices. By appreciating the large collection of these pre-Columbian celebrations of sex—which are archaeological relics of enormous cultural value—we can begin to understand the Peruvian ancestors’ relationship with nature, the divine, and each other.

The museum also owns a large collection of crowns, earrings, nose ornaments, garments, masks, and vases. The museum, which first opened its doors to the public in 1926, is located in an 18th-century building that has been built over a pre-Columbian pyramid.