Machu Picchu in Washington DC: Centennial Celebration of the Inca citadel
Machu Picchu. By the end of July of 1911, U.S. explorer, historian and treasure hunter Hiram Bingham announced to the world that he had “discovered” the Native American citadel of Machu Picchu.
Actually, he was guided to the Inca citadel by local Quechua men with the permission of the Peruvian government, and the financial sponsorship of the National Geographic Society and the University of Yale.
Hiram Bingham took away over 40,000 objects from Machu Picchu to the U.S. most of which was kept by the University of Yale. Bingham was elected U.S. senator years later. In the past few years, the government of Peru has requested for the objects to be sent back and Yale has returned 350 objects so far.
Several events are being held in Washington, DC, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the re-discovery of Macchu Picchu in Peru.
The programs started this week and will run until July 17. They are co-hosted by National Geographic Society, the Embassy of Peru to the U.S. and the Library of Congress.
Why am I posting this just now? Firstly, I never received the press release from the Peruvian Embassy but they have offered me some free passes, how cool is that? Secondly I was away from my blog Peruanista for a while, but I’m returning next week.
Image from The story of Machu Picchu: the Peruvian expeditions of the National Geographic Society and Yale University. National Geographic, v. 27, Feb. 1915: 172. Photo by Hiram Bingham / Library of Congress
Machu Picchu is the most symbolic place of Peru, it was built by the Quechua indigenous peoples during the Inca rule days (Tawantinsuyu empire) and it was as a place of retreat, worship and other activities proper of a noble citadel, considered today as one of the seven wonders of the contemporary world, and included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
A sacred place of many activities
This week I attended the lecture “Machu Picchu: a Centennial Celebration” at the Library of Congress, hosted by Barbara Tenenbaum, PhD and presentations by Margaret G.H. McLean, PhD an anthropologist and senior analyst at the Cultural Heritage Center of the Department of State, and by Anita G. Cook, PhD professor of anthropology at the Catholic University of America.
Anita Cook showed the northern roots of the Inca empire especially the influences from the Wari civilization, but she failed not to mention the most important roots of the Tawantinsuyu: the Kollao region and the Tiawanaku civilization, which she admitted later on when I asked about it.
Margaret McLean presented Machu Picchu as a retreat state for the Inca Pachacuti, which is largely debated by scholars and anyone who has visited Machu Picchu, which is a very spiritual place. McLean failed to mention the Intihuatana, or solar stone clock, among other sacred places of the site. Also she talked about “my porters” when showing a group of Quechua indigenous men, finally she made a comment about the Inca mummies in a very coloquial way that some might find offensive. I interviewed Dr. McLean and will post it later on.
Yesterday I went to the National Geographic presentation of Weaving Space and Time: The Inca Ceremonial Calendar by professor R. Tom Zuidema. It was a great conference, I also interviewed professor Zuidema, he was very friendly and extremely articulate, he knows a lot about Machu Picchu.
List of events
Program elaborated with information sent by the Embassy of Peru and National Geographic.
The Embassy of Peru in Washington DC, in association with National Geographic Society (NatGeo) and the Library of the U.S. Congress, has initiated a series of celebratory events to be held in Washington DC, for the Centennial of Machu Picchu’s Uncovering to the World.
Monday, June 27, photographic exhibition “Machu Picchu: A Lost City Uncovered” comprised of a collection of photos taken by Hiram Bingham himself during his expeditions to Cusco between 1911 and 1915. The exhibition will remain open at the Museum of NatGeo until September 11, 2011, after which it will become a traveling exhibition to be showcased in various cities throughout the United States.
Tuesday, June 28, 7.30 PM Lecture with Dr. Christopher Heaney, writer, journalist and biographer of Hiram Bingham, titled “Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham and the Revelation of Machu Picchu”.
Thursday, June 29, 6:00 PM Lecture in the U.S. Library of Congress, exhibition of major publications about Machu Picchu from the collection in this library. Two presentations by Dr. Anita Cook entitled “The Historical Context of the Incas” and the other by Dr. Margaret MacLean on “The Royal Estate of Machu Picchu“.
Thursday 30, 7.30 PM Lecture with Dr. R. Tom Zuidema, anthropologist and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, on the theme, “Weaving Space and Time: The Ceremonial Calendar of the Inca“.
Documentary films about Peru will be shown at the NatGeo headquarters auditorium, 1600 M Street NW, Washington, DC.
- Tuesday June 28 – 12 Noon. Film SAX COUNTRY – EL PAÍS DE LOS SAXOS (2007/70 min/Spanish and Quechua with English subtitles) The story of how the saxophone, which originally came to Peru during the Big Band Jazz era, became absorbed into the traditional music of the Andes. Introduced by filmmaker Sonia Goldenberg.
- Tuesday July 5 – 12 Noon. Film COOKING UP DREAMS – De Ollas y Sueños (2005/75 min/Spanish and Quechua with English subtitles) From the coast to the rain forest to the high Andes, Peru’s diverse and increasingly popular cuisine is rooted in local ingredients. Followed by a discussion with filmmaker Ernesto Cabellos.
- Thursday July 7 – 11 AM. Live stream from Machu Picchu: Salute to Machu Picchu
Invocation and staging of the traditional Inca “Tinkay” ceremony.
“Salute from the Four Suyos” – A ceremony in which representatives of the four “suyos,” or quadrants of the Inca realm, give homage to the Inca.
Remarks by the President of the Quechua Language Academy.
Musical performances by the groups Los Jaivas, Pachatusan, and Arco Iris.
- Saturday July 9 - 1 PM. Peru on Fim: Enjoy an afternoon of films from Peru, celebrating its storied past and vibrant present. Camino a la Escuela and Hananpancha
- Sunday, July 17, Peruvian Film & Dance Festival at the NatGeo headquarters auditorium, 1600 M Street NW, Washington, DC. Includes:
- 11 AM. Dance workshop and demostration with Mamauca, music by Tahuantinsuyu del Inca.
- 12 Noon. Andean contemporary music performed by musician Cesar Villalobos of renowned group Inca Son.
- 1 PM. Film and dance: Soy Andina screening and dance demostration: Two women explore their Peruvian identity through dance. With filmmaker Mitch Teplitsky and a live performance by dancer Cynthia Paniagua.
- 3:30 PM. Film and dance: Danzak screening and Scissors dance demostration The traditional Andean Scissors Dance comes to life in this film and live dance demonstration.
- Tuesday July 19 – 12 Noon. Film GHOSTS OF MACHU PICCHU (2010/53 min/Narrated in English)
Archaeologists continue to make new discoveries that change our understanding of the fabled citadel of the Inca.
- Tuesday July 26 – 12 Noon. Film PERU: SACRED GEOGRAPHY (2006/47 min/Narrated in English)
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis returns to the Andes, where a unique culture with both indigenous American and Spanish European roots maintains a reverent connection with the land.
For more information about the activities please visit the following websites: peruvianembassy.us, http://www.nglive.or/dc, http://www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/events.html, or contact the Office of Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Peru: email@example.com or call 202-261-0272
Videos and photos will be posted in the following days to come.
Please spread the word about these events, so far they have attracted lots of people. See you around.