/ Explores the Complex / CAO Museum

Room One:

Water everywhere

This room presents the relationship between the archaeological complex and the environment in which it is situated.

Exploring the boundaries between the natural and the built space. The information provided in this room will show the points between the native perception of nature and the formation and characteristics of the mythical stories.

Room Two:

14000 Years of History

In this room the focus falls on the processes of change and continuity manifested both in the ceramic technique and in the treatment of other materials. The objects are organized within a chronological framework of 14000 years, a period that corresponds to the history of cultural occupation in El Brujo.

Room Three:

Cosmos Architecture

This room presents the sacred space as it was built and perceived by the Moche inhabitants. The approach corresponds to the most important ceremonial structure of the Sorcerer, the Huaca Cao Viejo, and with it the ritual behaviors (i.e. burial of the temple and offerings) through which the space acquired a sacred value. In this room you will find objects that have been offered to the building and an infographic that shows the different construction phases of the ceremonial center, presenting complex technical and symbolic processes behind the construction of the truncated pyramids of the Moche.

Room Four:

The Blood of the Mountains

Standing out against other ethnic groups in the Andean cultural area, the Moche openly and publicly celebrated the ceremonial blood.

The stages that made up the ritual sequence of human sacrifice, also presented in this room, were carefully described and narrated by the Moche artists, who through the power of their images instructed and revealed to the masses the sacred code of a warrior discipline.

Although we do not fully know what was the meaning or the nature of the armed encounter between the Moche, we know that the objective of these great meetings exceeded a political ambition of an expansive and military nature. Dense sacred substance, blood was the axis and main component of the political and religious ideology of the Moche. In the ritual imaginary, the captured warrior’s blood flowed down the mountain tops like a turbulent and mighty river, and charged by the power and vigor of the warrior, encouraged the rivers and fertilized the pampas.

The ritual battles and the consequent ceremony of sacrifice spread and practiced in all valleys and centers of Moche power, demonstrating that blood, rather than a symbol of conflict, was the paradigmatic symbol of integration between men and their gods.

Room Five:

Rituals of Death

In this room the expressions associated with the funeral practices of the Moche are presented. The funerary context of the two main tombs of the Huaca Cao Viejo is exhibited and the relationship between funerary techniques and Moche concepts on the “Beyond” is emphasized.

Because the ritual experience is displayed through performative acts, impossible to register through archaeological work, the museography emphasizes the dynamic character of the funeral ceremonies incorporating musical sounds that are reconstructed through the archaeo-musicological analysis.

In this room also refers to the production, consumption and exchange of sacred liquids through the exhibition of an important funerary set of ceramics in the form of containers, showing that the currents and flows were part of a mythical circulation system , in which metaphorically participated the blood of the sacrificed, the water of the rivers and the chicha de jora. It is shown that to this day the ritual control of fluids and flows is in charge of women.

Room Six:

The World of the Ancestors

This is the final space of the tour through the museum and represents the culmination of a ritual trajectory that begins in room 4.

In this way, the rituals of sacrifice and funerary rituals, explored in rooms 4 and 5 respectively, constitute the ritual antecedent to enter and understand the value of this last stage, which we refer to as the “Beyond”. This room reaffirms the existence of a Mochica belief in the “Beyond”, linked to a probable cult to the ancestors, which establishes the conceptual framework to present the Lady of Cao as the center and embodiment of said ideology.

With this, the room presents the figure of the ancestor but also the cosmological space to which it belongs – a transitory space; a trip to a certain destination impossible to be interrupted by the visitor’s absorbed gaze.

Room Seven:

Lady of CAO

This room seeks to revalue the role of those Peruvians who throughout history have contributed to forge our national identity, which is multicultural and diverse.

The tour begins in a space where female visitors can dress like the Lady of Cao, personify it with their warriors, and take souvenir photos.

Following the route, we will find a panel of the faces of the women of Magdalena de Cao, who represent the power and enigma of this powerful leader of the Chicama Valley.

At the end of the room, there is the reconstructed face of the Lady of Cao, powerful leader of the Moche, who lived 1700 years ago, approx. In front of it is a preliminary bust that invites visitors to have a sensory experience, where through their hands, discover the features that had the Lady of Cao.

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