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From February 2 to June 16, 2013, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will present for the first time and exclusively in Canada, the exhibition Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon: Identities and Conquest in the Early, Colonial and Modern Periods. Conceptualized, organized, produced and toured by the MMFA, this exhibition will display an extensive collection of pre-Columbian treasures and masterpieces from the colonial era to Indigenism, including over 100 pieces that have never before been seen outside of Peru. With more than 350 works of art (paintings, sculptures, gold and silver ornaments, pottery, photograph, works on paper, textiles and videos) from almost fifty public and private collections, most of them from Peru but also from Canada, United States, France and Germany, this exhibition covers 3,000 years of history, including archaeological discoveries in recent decades.

The organization of this exhibition would not have been possible without the valued support of the Peruvian government and the city of Lima.

Exhibition layout

  • Section 1 explains how archaeology rewrote the national history beginning with the discovery, in 1911, of Machu Picchu to the recent restitution of artworks;
  • Section 2 focuses on the myths and rituals of the early civilizations of the Andes, highlighting their role in forming and shaping Peruvian identity during the pre-Columbian era;
  • Section 3 illustrates the perpetuation, concealment, and hybridization of the indigenous culture during the colonial period;
  • The last section highlights the rediscovery of this culture in the 20th century and the revalorization of ancient symbols of identity in contemporary Peruvian iconography.

Trilingual audioguide

  • Available in three languages: French, English and Spanish.
  • Designed to encourage exchanges between young and old, the audioguide includes commentary for adults and short stories for children.
  • NEW : The audioguide is accessible for $5 on the Museum equipment or on your smart device via the iTunes App Store and the Google Play store. It can be downloaded in advance or when you arrive at the Museum.
· Audioguide example in English
· Audioguide example in French
· Audioguide example in Spanish

iTunes App Store

Google Play Store

Peru : Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon


The exhibition is accompanied by a 380-page catalogue co-published in English and French editions by the MMFA and 5 Continents Editions in Milan.

This fully illustrated volume (450 illustrations) comprises essays by eminent curators and specialists and interviews with leading figures and experts on Peruvian archaeology, art history and literature like the novelist Mario Vargas Llosa.

This book, which will be distributed internationally, will help enrich the public’s knowledge and appreciation of Peruvian art in all its splendour.

On sale at the Museum Boutique and Bookstore.

Museum Boutique / Bookstore

Exhibition travel dates

The MMFA will tour Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon: Identities and Conquest in the Early, Colonial and Modern Periods to the Seattle Art Museum, where it will be presented from October 17, 2013 to January 5, 2014.


  • Mochica, Côte nord, peut-être La Mina
    Mochica, côte-nord, peut-être La Mina
    100-800 apr. J.-C., or, chrysocolle, coquillages, 28,5 x 41.4 x 4,5 cm. Lima, Museo de la Nación. Photo Daniel Giannoni
    Un ornement mochica en forme d’animal hybride mi-félin, mi-pieuvre. Cette pièce emblématique de la récupération des trésors précolombiens récemment rapatriés au Pérou est exposée pour la première fois hors du pays.
  • Mochica, Côte nord, Sipán
    Mochica, Côte nord, Sipán
    100-800 apr. J.-C., or, turquoise, bois, 9,2 cm. Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipán, Lambayeque. Photo Joaquín Rubio
    Provenant de l’extraordinaire site de Sipán, un disque d’oreille représentant le seigneur du lieu, gouvernant mochica sur la côte Nord du Pérou vers le Ve siècle de notre ère.
  • Chimú, Côte nord, peut-être Chan Chan
    Chimú, Côte nord, peut-être Chan Chan
    900-1476 apr. J.-C., alliage d'or, d'argent, de cuivre, approx. 46,6 x 21,9 cm. Museo Larco, Lima - Perú
    Une parure funéraire (couronne, disques d’oreilles, collier, pectoral et épaulières), chef-d’œuvre de l’orfèvrerie chimú conservé au Museo Larco (Lima).
  • Lambayeque, Côte nord
    Lambayeque, côte-nord
    750-1375 apr. J.-C., or, 21 x 34.8 cm. Ferreñafe, Museo Nacional Sicán. Photo Joaquín Rubio
    Des masques couvrant les visages des momies des souverains lambayeque font partie de cette sélection soignée d’œuvres précolombiennes telles que ce magnifique masque funéraire de la collection du Museo Oro del Perú (Lima).

  • Lambayeque, Côte nord
    Lambayeque, north coast
    Back of litter, 750-1375 A.D.
    Wood, gold, silver, cinnabar, sulphurous copper, ammonia, shells, turquoise, feathers, 58 x 114 x 5 cm
    Lima, Museos « Oro del Perú » - « Armas del Mundo », Fundación Miguel Mujica Gallo. Photo Joaquín Rubio
    A rare headboard of a Lambayeque litter depicting figures officiating at a ceremony, unique in the complexity of its ornamentation.
  • Anonymous, possibly Lima
    Anonymous, possibly Lima
    Depósito eucarístico con forma de pelícano [Eucharistic urn in the shape of a pelican], about 1750-1760
    Partially gilded silver, gemstones, 83 x 91 cm.
    Lima, Monasterio Nuestra Señora del Prado. Photo Daniel Giannoni
    Among the ceremonial objects on view is a silver Eucharistic urn in the shape of a Pelican, a bird traditionally associated with Christ’s sacrifice. It is widely considered a masterpiece of the liturgical metalwork from the Latin-American Baroque period.
  • Anonymous, Cuzco School
    Anonymous, Cuzco School
    Virgen Niña Hilando [Young Virgin Spinning], 2nd third of the 18th c.
    Oil on canvas with gold leaf applications 112.7 x 80.6 cm
    Museo Pedro de Osma, Lima. Photo Joaquín Rubio
    Symbolic representations of the virtuous life of the Virgin Mary on view, such as Young Spinning Virgin, recalls the acllas, the Virgins of the Sun in the Inca empire, whose principal occupation was making garments for the Inca and for religious rites.
  • Francisco Laso (1823 – 1869)
    Francisco Laso (1823 – 1869)
    Habitante de las cordilleras del Perú [Inhabitant of the Peruvian Highlands], 1855.
    Oil on canvas, 138 x 88 cm.
    Pinacoteca Municipal Ignacio Merino de la Municipalidad Metropolitana de Lima. Photo Daniel Giannoni
    A typical work of Peruvian art of the mid-19th century, Habitante de las cordilleras by Francisco Laso, portrays the indigenous peasant as a national symbol for the new Peruvian republic, and heralds the direction that Peruvian cultural nationalism was to take in the next century.

  • Leonor Vinatea Cantuarias (1897 - 1968)
    Leonor Vinatea Cantuarias (1897 - 1968)
    Pastoras [Shepherdesses], 1944.
    Oil on canvas, 197 x 174 cm.
    Lima, Museo de la Nación. Photo Joaquín Rubio
    Paintings depicting scenes of Native life and the idyllic landscapes of the Peruvian countryside and highlands such as Pastoras (Shepherdesses) by Leonor Vinatea were to transform the visual culture of Peru in the modern era.
  • Martin Chambi (1891-1973)
    Martin Chambi (1891-1973)
    Aerial View of Machu Picchu With Mountains in the Background, Peru, 1927
    Gelatin silver print, 35.9 x 45.8 cm
    © Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal
  • Anonymous
    El Niño Jesús con la corona imperial inca y el ajuar de sacerdote católico
    [The Child Jesus Wearing the Imperial Inca Crown and the Robes of a Catholic Priest], first half of the 18th century
    Oil on canvas, 86 x 75 cm
    Lima, Mónica Taurel de Menacho Collection. Photo Joaquín Rubio
  • Mochica, north coast, Sipán
    Mochica, north coast, Sipán
    Figurine depicting a supernatural half-human, half-bird being, 100-800 A.D.
    Copper. 11.5 x 7.2 x 6.5 cm
    Museo de Sitio de Huaca Rajada Sipán. Photo Joaquín Rubio


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Activities & Events

Many free activities and events related to the exhibition are available for everyone. Have a look to the categories below for more details and get ready to discover the fascinating universe of Peru!


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