Ancient Andean art in context: An origin story (“The Legend of Ñaymlap”)

“In the Denver Art Museum’s Art of the Ancient Americas galleries, we worked with Mexico City-based animators Hola Combo to create animations to help tell the origin stories that explain the relationship between ancient American communities and the their environment. For the Andes, we chose a story that loosely relates to the works on display. “The Legend of Ñaymlap” is an ancient story from Peru’s northern coastal communities and supposedly records the origins of the Sicán or Lambayeque dynasty (about 750–1375 CE). Within this origin story, there is a moral about the relationship between the deities and the land. As the ruler turns away from the deities, rain and floods devastate the land, starving the community.”

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Cite this page as: Denver Art Museum, "Ancient Andean art in context: An origin story (“The Legend of Ñaymlap”)," in Smarthistory, April 7, 2022, accessed March 27, 2023,