On arrival, he learned that the building itself was an original Inca ceremonial court that was re-configured into the current museum. The place housed a plethora of art objects dated from 1250 BCE to 1532 CE. Simon walked through various galleries displaying the objects from primitive, evolutionary to era-specific gorgeous art forms from Nasca, Mochica, Chancay and Chimu time periods in Peruvian peninsula. However, his biggest astonishment turned out to be seeing the paintings, reminiscent of Pablo Picasso’s cubism, on several vases inside the Huari galleries (800 – 1300 CE). On the wall of the gallery, the art was described “An extraordinarily cubist, modern and completely avant-garde criterion can be discerned in these Huari vases, in which the agile and free design, is limited by the structured order of the decorated surface. That primitive cubism, allows the artist to decompose the images and show them in their essential elements and not in their accessory ones,” exactly what Picasso, acclaimed inventor of modern-day cubism wanted from this genre, Simon remembered.
Then came a surprising revelation. On one of the panels on the wall, he read about an event that took place in Paris, France. Impressionist painter Matisse was paying a visit to his American friend, author Ms. Gertrude Stein. On the way, Matisse stopped by an art gallery to pick up a gift, a decorated piece of pottery purported to be an ancient piece from Peru. While Ms. Stein and Matisse were engaged in their conversation, Mr. Picasso stopped by to join them. Soon the conversation veered into the discussion of ancient Indian art around the piece Matisse had brought in. Though Simon was unable to find any reference to the nature of the painting on that particular piece of pottery, it raised the tantalizing possibility in his mind about some sort of cubism on the piece. Could that also be the inspiration for Picasso to explore cubism in details in the context of modern times, rather than he being the inventor of the genre, wondered Simon!
He came out of the museum appreciating how the progress of our human civilizations always stood on the “shoulders of the giants” of the previous civilizations. Later, he entered into a local café for lunch. There, on the wall, on a flat-screen TV, CNN’s international news division was showing the ruins from the deliberate destruction of the ancient historic monuments in Aleppo, Syria from aerial bombardment by its own government. Simon whispered to himself “Only, if they knew the historic values of those wonderful monuments that were created based on the knowledge gained from the effort and creativity of the previous civilizations!”