On display – Inca gold (?)

Today I’ll visit the exhibition Inca gold – treasures in the vault, an exhibition by Världskulturmuseerna (the museums of world culture) on display in Stockholm September 10th 2011– February 12th 2012.

The exhibition is on archaeological finds from South America, for example from the Incas and earlier Peruvian cultures, and tells the tale on the search for El Dorado, the golden land, and the Spanish conquest of the Incas.

About 300 objects from 15 Peruvian museums are on display. The objects are from the Incas and the cultures preceding them, the oldest from ca 2000 BC and then reaching to the 1530s AD. Besides gold there are also textiles, ceramics and mummies on display.

Not all are pleased with the exhibit, one disgruntled visitor filed a complaint to the National Consumer Agency, according towww.dagensmedia.se he said :

…an exhibition called the Inca gold. The problem is that , as far as I could see, when visiting yesterday, is that only two objects made of gold where from the Incas (though he says he might have missed yet another). All other objects were from other Peruvian cultures…

We’ll see what I think when I’ve seen it. Now I have:

There wasn’t much Inca gold but lots of interesting objects and stories. For most parts I liked this exhibit, though South American prehistory isn’t my forte it seemed a good introduction – with nice finds, good texts and a well balanced exhibit, though a bit expensive (ca 16 €). On a whole its a good exhibit well worth a visit!

I like an exhibit when I feel I learned something – and that I did. On the minus side is a few question marks – I would have liked a culture explanation on the pre-Inca cultures earlier and a more consequent mentioning on that in the info texts. Regarding the info signs for the finds – they’re often confusing and difficult to find in regards to objects.

Especially two things concerned me – first an information sign concerning Hjalmar Stolpe, a Swedish archaeologist/ethnographic (1841-1905). A picture shows him with his associates and co-workers at a South American expedition – together with finds and three craniums. It is very possible that I’ve handled one or all of them at the Osteological research laboratory in Stockholm at one time or another – but no mention is made on that material being brought to Sweden or the question regarding handling human remains, brought to at the time and being kept in Sweden currently. As much focus are on the Spanish invasion and the consequeses of that less so are focused on the late 19th and early 20th century “collectors”/researchers such as Stolpe, though they are mentioned. The next are two mummies, if I understand correctly collected by Stolpe, that are on display – they work within the exhibit and don’t feel off – but I wish there would have been a larger focus on why they are there, on the thoughts on displaying mummies and perhaps also a discussion if they should be shown at all. I don’t say they shouldn’t be but it would have been interesting with a discussion concerning that instead of questions on gold and how we look on gold today.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Magnus Reuterdahl

About Magnus Reuterdahl

I am an archaeologist/Osteologist from Sweden. My main intrest lays in north Euorpean archaeology in, preferbly the prehistory of the late iron age and the neolithic periods. I've also got a strong intrest for Chinese archaeology, especially the neolithc Yangshao culture. I also write about cultural heritage and cultural history. Mitt namn är Magnus Reuterdahl, jag är arkeolog och osteolog och arbetar företrädesvis i Sverige även om jag gjort ett par vändor till Kina. På den här bloggen skriver jag om mitt yrke, om fornlämningar, kulturarv och kulturhistoria m m. View all posts by Magnus Reuterdahl

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