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Ancient erotic pottery teaches Peruvians to prevent prostate cancer

Pre-Hispanic figures from the Mochica culture that depict nudity are displayed at an exhibition promoting awareness of prostate and testicular cancer, at the Larco Museum, in Lima, Peru – REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

A Peruvian cancer prevention group has begun using erotic ceramics sculpted over a thousand years ago to teach men how to self test for early signs of prostate and testicular cancer.

Museum director Ulla Holmquist shows pre-Hispanic figures from the Mochica culture that depict nudity at an exhibition promoting awareness of prostate and testicular cancer, at the Larco Museum, in Lima, Peru – REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

In an event on Friday at Lima’s Larco museum, famous for its collection of pre-Columbian art, men were encouraged to touch genitals of the clay sculpture replicas to learn how to perform a cancer self-test on their testicles and penis.

The sculptures created by the Moche culture that thrived in northern Peru 100 to 800 years after Christ are known as erotic “huacos,” a pre-Columbian term for handicrafts.

The exhibition, called “Touch the Genitals of the Mochicas,” was promoted by the private organization League against Cancer.

A museum guide shows pre-Hispanic figures from the Mochica culture that depict erotic scenes at an exhibition promoting awareness of prostate and testicular cancer, at the Larco Museum, in Lima, Peru – REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

“Timely detection of cancer of the external genitalia in men, both of the penis and testicles, is very low,” said nurse Giselle Grillo from the League Against Cancer. “Many do not how to explore their genitals, what palpation is. With this we give an early diagnosis.”

According to the organization, some 10,000 cases of prostate, penis and testicular cancer were diagnosed in Peru in 2021. Of that, 45% were in advanced stages with little chance of being cured.

“The aim is to bring closer the knowledge of our ancestors about the human body, expressed through these ceramic vessels that we call the Erotic Huacos,” said Larco Museum Director Ulla Holmquist.

In the museum, the hundreds of huacos, some with large male genitalia and others in varying sexual positions, were displayed in showcases while visitors timidly touched them.

Pre-Hispanic figures from the Mochica culture that depict erotic scenes are displayed at an exhibition promoting awareness of testicular cancer, at the Larco Museum, in Lima, Peru – REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

(Reporting by Reuters TV and Marco Aquino; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Richard Chang)

 

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