Besides exhibits from the era of the Incas, the exhibition shows a large number of golden works from different forerunner cultures, which were annexed peacefully or forcefully by the Incas while the period of their glory.


Probably from 400 BC to 90 AD
Only few scientifically proved insights into the Frias culture are existing. All of the received items came from illegal excavations. From a stylistic standpoint, it exists a connection between materials from La Tolita-Turnaco, a culture that extended in the south of Columbia. First metalwork is provable at the time around 400 BC. The objects have an important feature: made of precious metals like gold and platinum, which were combined by the Sinter process for the first time. This culture existed probably until 90 AD. Afterwards, it lost its importance.


approx. 500 BC – 100 AD
After the decline of the Chavin culture, new styles were formed at the north coast of Peru like Vicus, Salinar, Viru and Gallinzo. These styles developed the Chavin culture further, particularly the plastic paint on ceramics.


approx. 100 – 800 AD
The Nasca culture was named after the valley of a river, too, that was the geographical centre. Their influence reached in the north to Chincha, in the south to Acari. Finds in graves show that the Nasca culture was a tight organized society, too. As well at the north coast, they did irrigation of agriculture. They also used the resources of the sea. The excellent developed road network of the Nasca maintained until the period of the Incas. Cahuachi was an important centre of cultural life to which a huge grave-mound belonged. The technique of the metalwork of the Nasca culture was regarded as being absolutely exemplary.


approx. 500 – 1100 AD
The empire of the Wari was created around the year 600 and extended over 1,500 kilometres in the territory of today’s Peru in the period of its glory. Huge changes in social, political and religious life were combined with the distribution of the Wari culture, which was reflected in changing settlement structures, new forms of architecture, widening of infrastructure and new burial rituals. Centuries later, a great number of reforms were taken over from the Wari by the Incas for their empire.


approx. 100 – 800 AD
The Moche culture at the north coast of Peru was named after the valley of a river that was the centre of this culture together with the Viru and the Chicama valley. At that point in time of their hugest expansion, the influence of the Moche culture extended in a coastal strip of a length of approx. 250 kilometres, in the north over the Leche valley to the Nepena valley in the south. At that time, the population grew enormously and within these valleys, people formed an united political organization. The extension and the control of the vital irrigation plant were fundamentally for the political power. A tight integration existed between religious performances and political power as well.


approx. 900 – 1100 AD
The Lambayeque or Sicán culture was one of the most important in Peru. Their influence reached to Ecuador, Columbia and Central America. They distinguished themselves amongst other things, for example the typical and lavish burials of their rulers. Like other Andean cultures, Lambayeque is only known due to burial objects and wrecks. They were politically, economically and religiously dominant in the Andean region. This culture replaced the previous period of the Moche. Their society was divided into higher and lower classes. The rulers enjoyed a reputation of a demigod.
Gold was the symbol for the Lambayeque culture at that time, before time and death became clear to the people. As the gold was found into the ground it was the most important mythological bridge into the next world, to the gods. All the other objects made it possible to contact the gods. Gold was for the sun. Silver was important for the moon and copper for the earth. Vermilion was the symbol for blood. The contrast effect of the metals, processed artistically, was strengthened by precious, for example chrysocolla. A lot of the Lambayeque elements were taken over by the Incas and went on existing in their culture.


approx. 1000 – 1470 AD
Like the Moche, the Chimu extended their empire by wars and they became rich by trade and tribute. Influences of the Chimu culture can be found from Tumbez in the extreme north of Peru to the Chancay valley at the central coast. Obviously, the Wari culture could not completely replace the older traditions of the Moche culture, which influenced mainly the Chimu culture.
The Chimu culture became famous, especially because of the high quality of their metalwork. Ceramic was formed with the help of models, for the most part. It was an earlier type of mass production. With the conquest of the Chimu empire by the Inca around the year 1470, they went on with these traditions until the early colonial era.


1438 – 1532
Only for almost 90 years, an own Inca culture have existed as a kind of union of many people being independent until then. The high effectiveness of the Inca rulers and, therefore, their historical meaning was based on their ability to govern many different cultures and to allow them to retain their culture apart from some exceptions. The rulers also had the ability to organize an economically solid supply.


approx. 1300 BC – 500 AD
At the north coast of Peru, many objects were found. Cupisnique based on the Chavin culture. The reason of the spreading Chavin style is extensively unknown. Probably, it was a matter of a religious trend, which was passed on peacefully, possibly in connection with trade. But social and political changes were not in connection with it. This trend rather based on complex developments of Formativum (3000 – 1500 BC). They used the techniques, which were established during the trend to pass on graphic descriptions of their religion by ceramics, fabrics, metal and stone.



Epilator, Frias-culture



Nose plate, Vicús-culture



Antara (flute), Nasca-culture



Idol, Wari-culture


Mask, Moche-culture



Tumi (ceremonial knife),



crone, Chimu-cultur



Bin in animal form, Inka-culture



Bottle, Cupisnique-culture