Peru Trip #3 – Trujillo and the Cassinelli Museum

Trujillo outskirtsCon-Air : Cameron Poe the honour-bound dominant dysfunctional male, somehow apposite here in Peru with its macho culture and all the crime and violence I have been warned about, where armed security men check bus passengers for weapons and video everyone’s face once all aboard, seated in our airline seats in this double-decker coach, watching the dubbed movie. I am grateful for the comfy seat on this 3hr drive, but listen to Anthony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, and Aqualung on shuffle on my iPhone – a much softer, more varied, more interesting selection of masculinities than those on Con-Air.

Seeing a bit more of northern Peru, from the bus, I take a few random
photos to try to capture the state of (un)development here. One thing I
will say, however, despite all the warnings, all the security, etc etc –
everyone I have met here in northern Peru has been very friendly, very
helpful, very warm. I know I’m in a bubble, chaperoned everywhere I go,
but I haven’t sensed any threat at all.

And so Trujillo! It’s a Spanish imperial town, in the centre at least,
and I am taken quickly around some of the grand houses they left behind,
and the ones built shortly after the start of the republic in the early
19th century. It is strange to see so much European architecture and
furnishings here. But what I am really looking forward to today, and
which we quickly move on to, is the Cassinelli Museum. Signor
Cassinelli, about 85yrs old now, is in the reception room, with his
young wife, when I get there, and personally greets me. He has been
buying ceramics from the haqueros (the grave robbers) for decades, and
is well known and liked for saving these ceramics for Peru, rather than
letting them go abroad where they could never be seen. The basement
where a third of the collection is on view, is under a petrol station,
and it is dearly hoped that this private collection will one day get a
better building! His son is downstairs, guarding their treasure, as my
guide and I look around. I took a LOT of photographs – all on Flickr
– but here are one or two to get a flavour. This is without doubt a
bigger and better collection than that at Larco Herrera, for all that it
is in such a tiny room in comparison.

A gay couple ceramic in the Erotic Moche ceramics cupboard

A shaven Moche priest?

One of many Moche portrait ceramics

At the end of my visit, I am honoured to have further (interpreted)
conversation with Signor Cassinelli, and even a picture with him. My
guide has made it clear to him how very much I was looking forward to
seeing his collection, and how with how much delight I have enjoyed it.
He, in return, is honoured to have me visit him, all the way from

Me with Signor Cassinelli

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