Tintin and The Broken Ear
On his way to join an expedition bound for Easter Island, museum curator Henri Lavachery passed through Lima in July 1934. He visited pre-Columbian sites and purchased some artefacts, among them this statuette. Exhibited at the museum for the first time in 1935, it intrigued a famous visitor, the author Hergé, who worked it into one of the 'Adventures of Tintin' : The Broken Ear.
A litter carrier
But the original object - which has a broken foot, not an ear - was sculpted by the Chimù rather than by Hergé's hypothetical Arumbayas. Dated between the 13th and 15th centuries CE, it represents a litter carrier. Excavations carried out at the Hueca de la Luna, near Moche, uncovered wooden 'models' illustrating various ceremonies. For a burial, similar statuettes bore the litter where the deceased lay, while others brought various offerings.