Peruvian craft

Posted by July 2, 2010

Here are three souvenirs I bought in Peru – all beautiful examples of crafts found around the country.  It’s extraordinary how many different kinds of craft the country boasts, and the quality of design.  I read that Peruvians have, through time, mastered every kind of weaving technique known except for those that are machine-made.

Here is a lovely example of weaving, bought from the Allyus Ecológicos artisans’ cooperative in Cusco.  All natural fibres and dyes.

A close-up:

This is a fabric made by women of the Shipibo tribe, in the northern Peruvian jungle.  The ink is from the fruit of the Huito tree and when first applied, it’s clear, but after a while turns dark (hence also used for temporary tattoos).  The women create this pattern from experience, ie knowing where to lay the dye.  I totally love it.

And lastly this was a present for my mother.  It’s a little gourd, minutely etched into by the master artisan Oswaldo Osores Medina, who is from a town called Cochas Grande in the district of Huancayo (the only place to produce etched gourds).  After etching they rub oil and charcoal over it to bring out the picture.  The detail and lightness of touch is amazing – the woman I bought it from only had 2 of his pieces and said they were difficult to come by (although he’s still alive).  It’s quite moving to look upon such patient, devoted workmanship; apparently the younger generation aren’t that interested, so who knows what will happen to such a special art.

What an incredible country, to produce such a fine level of design and craftsmanship in all these different forms.

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