The Andes: Channeling Ancient Civilizations

Step into a world where pre-Hispanic cultures shine bright in the handmade works of artisan masters.

Legend tells how Wiracocha, a pre-Inca deity, created the sun god Inti in Tiahuanaco near Lake Titicaca. Inti symbolizes the eternal consecration between the sun and his children, the Inca. Even today, Inti is honored in Cusco each year on the summer solstice. At its height, the Inca Empire stretched along the western edge of South America across the Andean Mountains. Although the empire fell in 1572, the cultural significance of the Inca civilization remains. Modern-day artisans preserve it in the handmade treasures they create, providing a glimpse into the rich and textured world of Peru’s pre-Hispanic culture.

Clockwise from top left: ‘Noblewoman of Nazca’, ‘Inca Cat Mask’, artisan Ana Maria Enciso, artisan Walter Jose Acosta in his Peru workshop

Artisans like Ana Maria Enciso, Walter Jose Acosta, Julio Sanchez, and Feriberto Aylas capture gorgeous pre-Hispanic images in stunning detail, lending beauty, as well as historical significance, to their archaeological art. Some feature the sharp blade of a tumi knife, used in ceremonies to honor the god Inti, or the depiction of a noble member of the Chavin people cast in bright copper and bronze. Others celebrate a legendary orca whale from the Nazca people or a shaman jaguar from Peru’s pre-Inca Cupisnique culture. Each piece honors tradition and the ancient stories, rites and beliefs that are deeply ingrained in the region.



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