artesano de cusco

Retablos are ornate little boxes that open and close, originally from Ayacucho. They are most fun open, because then one can admire the many little scenes of everyday life depicted in them. A retablo can be compared to a Nativity scene in a box.



The two cornerstones of Peruvian art are the pre-Columbian traditions and Spanish influence. Whereas many pre-Columbian traditions are still preserved today, especially (on) in the countryside, the Spanish colonization left a very strong imprint. The vast missionary operation of the conquistadors gave birth to a mix of native beliefs and Catholicism. This religious ambiguity is tangible in Peruvian art. Today, 90 % of the population is catholic, but part of the Andean belief still lives on in daily customs.

Painting: The historical epicentre of Peruvian, and even South American painting and folk art, lies in Cusco. The city developed a distinctive style of painting known as the "Cusco School” since the late 16th century. Locals were taught painting techniques by Spanish settlers, as a way of professing catholic religion through imagery. They therefore imposed strictly religious themes with a missionary purpose. Little by little, the indigenous artists started to add more and more traditional Andean themes, like local animals or types of clothing. A new style was born.

Meticulously carved gourds are real pieces of art and offered in souvenir shops everywhere. sagas are brought to life on the surface of a single gourd.