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WoWasis museum and book review: Quito Ecuador’s Pre-Columbian Casa Del Alabado

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jul• 16•14

Chorrera woman

Ecuador’s capital of Quito boasts a number of interesting things to see, but we here at WoWasis found none more fascinating than the fascinating pre-Columbian museum, Casa Del Alabado. The guide book is something you’ll probably want to have, but more on that later.


Jama-Coaque warrior

The strength of the museum is in its ceramics collection of human figures, the most compelling of which, in our opinion, are from the Chorrera (950 to 350 BCE.) and Jama-Coaque (350 BCE to 1530 ACE) cultures. The museum, housed in an old colonial home, is well-laid out and easy to navigate, and the displays are well-lit and paced so that remarkable pieces stand on their own. As is the case with many museums in South America, visitors may take their own photos, and we’ll guess that you’ll want to. The Chorrera figures, in particular, are amazingly modernist, and the Jama-Coaque are almost Rococo in their elaboration. We found the collection so astounding that we took a second tour through the museum as soon as we finished the first viewing and were able to catch our collective breaths. We were dazzled.

The 'World of Spirits' book

The ‘World of Spirits’ book

The gift shop has a book on the collection that offers a wonderful overview, The World of Spirits in Pre-Columbian Ecuador, which we elected to buy when we got home, rather than carrying it on our trip (buy it here at the WoWasis eStore). We’re glad we bought the book, which offers photographs of several of the pieces that we just plain missed as we viewed the many other treasures in the museum.


Jama-Coaque woman

Museo Casa del Alabado
Cuenca Street N1-41, between San Francisco Square and Santa Clara Square
Quito, Ecuador
Tel: +593(2)228-0772
Open from Tuesday to Saturday. From 9:30am to 5:30pm, Sunday and Holidays from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

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