The exhibit includes treasures from nine Peruvian museums, many of them traveling abroad for the first time: rare articles of gold and other precious materials, ceramics, textiles, ritual paraphernalia and unusual objects, and large-scale photographs of iconic sites.
The legendary Inca Empire, whose destruction began in 1532, was just the latest in a line of thousands of years of highly developed Peruvian civilizations (among them was the Moche culture, 2,000 years ago, which produced ceramics unequaled anywhere in the world at the time). The oldest item on display is a human-shaped vessel from around 1500 B.C. The exhibition commemorates the bicentennial of Peru's independence and focuses on the history, beliefs and cultural achievements of the various peoples who lived on the territory from about 2500 B.C. until the arrival of Europeans in the 1500s, as well as their legacy in subsequent centuries.