Saturday, April 3, 2010

Arequipa - Museo Santuaryios Andionos

One of our first stops was the Museo Santuaryois Andionos which houses a collection of artifacts found on the summits of volcanoes in Arequipa including textiles, gold silver and bronze statues, wood carvings, ceramics, and of course a mummy! It tells the story of the children sacrificed by the Inca on top of the volcano as a means to appease the angry gods, and to stop erruptions.

The children chosen for this lucky fate were children of noble birth without a single imperfection or blemish. The most famous is Jaunita, named for her finder Johan, and scientists know she was never ill as a child because she was buried with a perfectly intact umbilical chord. During the time of the Inca, a child´s umbilical chord was dried and bits were fed to them if they got sick. Juanita never needed hers because she was perfect.

The children met a difficult end as they climbed to the summit of the volcano on empty stomachs, and wrapped in amazing blankets held together by a big silver pin. At the top they were given chicha, an alcoholic form, that put them to sleep. A quick bash on the right temple form a preist cracked her skull and ended her life. She was left in her grave with the above mentioned artifacts.

The volcanos created a need for Juanita to be buried but also are responsible for her discovery. Soon after she was buried her grave froze over and she remained perfectly preserved for centuries. When the volcano errupted in the nineties the ash heated and melted the ice freeing her and she was knocked from her grave by the trembling earth into a crater where she was found by a team looking for Inca artifacts. She even got sent to the US where scientists uncovered many of her secrets uncluding how she died, what she last ate...ect.

Unfortunatly Juanita wasn´t at the museum so we saw a different mummy but here are some photos!

artifacts buried with the children - dolls with faces made of gold or silver

textiles worn by the children

I think this one is of Johanns and the team finding Jaunita