The Sican Museum

It is located in Ferreñafe, 25 minutes from the city of Chiclayo. It displays the different daily aspects of the Sican culture including different process for making pottery and metal crafts. In addition Sican Museum has an interesting display of the tombs of the Sican nobility.

The Sican Culture

The name Sicán, has recently been adopted to refer to the culture that flourished in the Lambayeque region around 750 AD, after the Mochica collapsed. This culture traces its roots in the local Mochica culture and in other contemporary cultures such as Cajamarca, Wari and Pachacamac – central coast-. Sican must not be mistaken by Sipan, another important archaeological site located that belongs to Mochica or Moche culture. The history of the Sican culture is divided in three periods:

  • The Early Sican period lasted from 750-900 AD and little is known about it. During this time the local inhabitants were under the influence of foreign cultures and mainly the Wari culture. Towards the 900 AD the Wari domain ended and the Sican people launched in a series of ideological and organizational changes. Their capital was in the Pomac forest, in the Rio La Leche valley.
  • The middle Sican period which lasted from 900 -110 AD brought about the flourishing of the culture and the legacies they left us: A distinctive ideology and artistic style, sophisticated technology, an influential theocratic state, elaborated funeral patterns in the burial of important people, and trade and long-distance exchange of goods.
  • The Late Sican period 1100-1375 AD is marked by the burning of the temples in the capital and the set up of a new capital in the west, in the Purgatory mount, near Tucume.

Religious Art

The Sican art was mainly religious. It was ruled by the Deity Sican and the Lord of Sican who represented parallel worlds -the supernatural and the natural worlds respectively- . The Deity was omnipotent and controlled all the celestial powers to breed life and abundance, whereas the Lord represented the hidden face of the Deity in the earth.

Technologies

The most outstanding Technology from Sican can be admired in pottery and craft metals. They produced arsenical copper at large scale – a type bronze made up of bronze alloy and arsenic- and tumbaga (low – karat gold, silver, copper and arsenic alloy). This technology did not have any precedent and it represented the coming of the Bronze Age in the north of Peru.
Copper was replaced by arsenical copper and it was used for utilitarian purposes. Apparently the access to different metals marked some type of social differences.
Ceramists from the Middle Sican period used moulds to make a wide variety of vessels burned and with a black shiny finish.
The agriculture was also important fo rethe Sican culture and the use irrigation channels to improve of the production.

Government

The Middle Sican culture was ruled by an influential theocratic stated which mobilized a lot of goods and human resources. Their territory covered most of the northern Peruvian coast from Sullana in the north to Trujillo in the south. The wide distribution and the uniform appearance of the Deity images tell us of their strong integration and social and ideological control. The main role of the religion was evident in the organization and function of the Sican capital in Poma which hosts dozens of huge temples.

Tombs

The Middle Sican culture has an elite funeral tradition which in many ways was the only one in the pre-Spanish history. The tombs had a well-cross shape and were finely distributed below and around high hills. These tombs also buried lots of treasures. Some of them weighed more than a ton because they had metal, other objects and more than 20 sacrificed human bodies inside.

Trade

The Sican state controlled a wide range of exotic and sumptuous trade of goods from far away places such as the south of Colombia – emerald and amber – and the high Amazon river banks – gold – . It was the first time that a large and diverse area became integrated into one economic network.
The Middle Sican culture exchanged worthy goods as arsenical copper and it was through the control of this worthy product that it kept its religious prestige and real leaders within not only their local people but in other ceremonial Andean important centres such as Pacatnamu and Pachacamac.
Their economic wealth, influential politics and religious prestige cannot be compared with any other culture of those times.