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Gold & Sacrifice At Auckland Museum

Gold & Sacrifice newsletter

A supernatural tale of the Incas and their ancestors is on display at Auckland Museum. Gold & Sacrifice: Treasures of Ancient Peru, unearths the might and mystery of one of the world's great lost civilisations, from the simple, artistic societies of the central Andes nearly 3,000 years ago, to the grand opulence of the Inca Empire. Human sacrifice, the afterlife and the supernatural, are all explored in this internationally touring exhibition of precious metals and ceramics.

Lacking a written language, Peruvian art was used to record events and ritual practices. Beautiful in their own right, these objects tell the story of their makers, from their faith in the supernatural, to the power structures of their societies. Most notable of the Pre-Columbian works on display are the ceramics and metal work of the Moche people, who occupied the north coast of Peru for almost 800 years. Their ceramics, which detail rituals involving hunting, fishing, sex, agricultural production and medicine, also depict the rite of human sacrifice, from warriors in combat to the act of sacrifice itself.

Curator of archaeology at Auckland Museum, Dr Nigel Prickett, says all ancient Peruvian societies performed ritual sacrifice, both animal and human.

"Ritual sacrifices were performed to assure prosperity and protect society from natural disasters, disease and war. Young warriors defeated in ritual combat, went willingly to their deaths in the belief that their sacrifice protected society from harm and fuelled the supernatural power of their rulers."

Gold crowns and headdresses worn by sacrificial priests, along with the blades and goblets used for human sacrifice and the consumption of blood, are all on display at Auckland Museum.

Gold & Sacrifice is indemnified by the New Zealand Government. It is generously supported by sponsors Walker & Hall and LanChile and is on display until 28 September 2003.

Admission $12 adults, $9 concessions, family pass $27, children $6.

Location & contacts Auckland Museum, The Domain, Parnell Open daily 10am-5pm infoline (09) 306-7067


Fiesta Peru! Celebrate Peruvian Independence Day with an evening of music and traditional South American dance. Ticket price includes exhibition entry, Banda Latina and Peruvian food. Cash bar available. Tickets $30/$25, available from the Museum Store or at the door.

Treasures of Peru Living Treasures Day Sunday 17 August. A day of events celebrating Peruvian culture, including music, documentaries and children's activities.

Competition Be in the draw to win a trip for two to Peru flying LanChile and following the Inca Discovery Trek with Intrepid Journeys and Adventure Getaways, or one of five gold bangles from Walker & Hall, when you visit Gold & Sacrifice: Treasures of Ancient Peru. Entry forms available at Auckland Museum, LanChile, Adventure Getaways, and Walker & Hall. also has tickets to the Gold & Sacrifice exhibition to give away - email us and tell us the name of the museum in Peru from which the contents of the exhibition have been sourced, and be in to win. Hint: if you don't know the answer, visit the listing.

"Art is the final cunning of the human soul which would rather do anything than face the gods." Iris Murdoch (1919-1999)

Aaron Lloydd

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