Museo De Arte Virreinal (Museum of Viceroyalty Art) – Taxco, Mexico - Atlas Obscura

Museo De Arte Virreinal (Museum of Viceroyalty Art)

Taxco, Mexico

The jewel of the museum is a rare tumulus, a funeral decoration from the 18th century. 

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This beautiful building in Taxco houses a museum filled with viceregal objects. Although the collection is not very large, nor does it represent all the years that the Viceroyalty of New Spain lasted in Mexico (1521-1821), there is at least one piece that makes the entire museum worth visiting: an 18th century tumulus.

A tumulus is a decoration made in the shape of an altar that is covered in a large canvas and painted with poems and allusions to death. These were used during the funeral ceremony, then discarded after the event, much like wreaths of flowers are used today. Because so many were discarded, tumuli are extremely rare and valuable today. The one in this museum was discovered in 1988, in the cellar of the nearby church of Santa Prisca during a renovation. 

Among the museum’s other pieces are a piece of clothing that could have belonged to José de la Borda, once the richest man in New Spain, and a stone with a beak that, according to legend, was used to punish unfaithful women. It is sometimes called Casa Humboldt (Humboldt House), because the naturalist Baron Alexander Von Humboldt stayed in the house during a visit to Taxco in 1803. The house also has an incredible view of the city.

Know Before You Go

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.