please buy the new “Guide to the Pre-columbian collection” (EMIL edizioni, 2015) ↓

This collection is one of the most rich and interesting in Italy, it shows 61 archaeological pre-columbian cultures before the European colonisation

The 200 works on display come from different cultural areas of the American continent: Mesoamerica (Central and Latin America, including the southern half of Mexico, the territories of Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize, the western part of Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica) and South America (areas of the Andes, Pampas, Amazon forest and the Caribbean). Alongside ceramics, textiles, metals, stone, wood and shell artefacts are also presented.

The ceramics, often of ritual character, are extremely significant in the cultural framework of the Americas: they tell the story of civilisations suffocated by the European ‘conquest’, their distinctive features, life, culture, art through simple and realistic forms.

The oldest works, Mexican and Guatemalan, date from between the 13th century BC and the 4th century AD, followed by striking figurative Maya sculptures, from the 4th to the 10th century, and the Aztec ceramics, from 10th to 16th century

Ceramics from Peruvian area, examples of Nazca and Inca cultures, from 6th BC to 16th century AD, are characterized by lively decorations, although coloured with slipware (clay coloured with natural pigments) and interesting shapes such as portrait vases or ‘whistling bottles’.

Sixty-nine antique precious Peruvian textiles document the great tradition of textile decoration, which finds many parallels in ceramics.


  • Childbirth scene

    Childbirth scene

  • Small bottle with two spouts and bridge handle

  • D184a

    Tripod millstone