Peru promotes mummy for tourists

Since its discovery in 2005, Caup Mecherroec, or, as she is more commonly known, Senora de Cao, has gathered global attention for her prestige and importance in the Mochica culture, a Pre-Incan civilization originating from the northern coast of Peru.

The mummy, who stood at 4.8 feet tall (1.45 meters) and was between 20-25 years old, as well as all of her noble possessions that were buried with her, will form part of a plan to create a special exhibition gallery in the very location dedicated to her as a mausoleum. The exhibition will include a richly decorated mural, and is located at the summit of Huaca Cao Viejo in the archaeological complex of El Brujo.

The El Brujo complex is located in the town of Magdalena de Cao in the Chicaza Valley, just 45 minutes from the city of Trujillo. The exhibition will open in spring 2007.

Visitors to the exhibition will be amazed to see how well preserved the body is which was a result of the meticulous treatment and preparation of a complicated Mochica ritual that included the application of cinnabar, a red mineral that inhibits the decomposition of the skin and tissues. Furthermore, her face was covered with a piece of cotton cloth and protected by a bowl-shaped piece of gilded copper. In addition, her burial site which was in a dry location also contributed to her state of preservation.

Regulo Franco, the archaeologist in charge of leading the Senora de Cao exhibition, says that ‘typically the duty of participating in battles and wars was exclusively for men and not women. In Mochica iconography, as in other combat representations, only men were depicted as warriors thus challenging Senora de Cao’s abilities. Fortunately, the irrefutable evidence points out that 1,700 years ago Senora de Cao was the ruler of the Chicama Valley. The governing body of this pre-industrial society was theocratic hence the rulers during this period decided it was best to unite their powers into one. Although, there were priestesses, like those from the Moro culture; they played secondary roles during culminating Mochica rituals like those of sacrifice or presentation offerings.’

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The discovery of the Senora of Cao confirms the great importance and elevated role women had in the Mochica world. Despite her young age, she presided over ceremonies and rituals with subordinate officials and was linked to the world of deities. During the Senora de Cao exhibit, visitors can see this prestigious leader’s possessions and emblematic objects, among them her symbolic tattoos which include a spider, nocturnal animals and a serpent on her forearms, ankles and fingers which contributed to her eminent image.

For those wishing to travel to Peru in spring 2007, Audley Travel can arrange a 14-night individual tailor-made trip, including three nights in Chiclayo to visit the exhibition and the complex of El Brujo. The trip will also include time in Lima, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, a night at Machu Picchu and will finish with two nights at Lake Titicaca. Prices start from £2,695 pp which is based on 3-star accommodation and includes international flights from London Heathrow (domestic add-ons are available). Please contact Audley’s Peru specialists on 01869 276 210 or visit the Audley website on www.audleytravel.com

The Commission for the Promotion of Peru - PromPeru, founded in 1993, is responsible for promoting the tourism product and image of Peru both nationally and internationally. PromPeru evaluates, develops, and implements the policies and strategies that promote internal and receptive tourism. It also promotes Peru as a tourist destination through publicity, public relations, and promotional activities. For more information on planning your trip to Peru, visit our website at www.peru.info .
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