Cusco Art
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Cusco Art

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Cusco Art

Cusco art is the result of the meeting of two worlds, the fusion of the ancestral Andean cosmovision with the European vision of the world of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. But the value of this syncretic result is compounded by the quality, the technique, the remarkable skill of its artisans, in any of its expressions: textiles, ceramics and imagery, as well as in silverware. There is no archaeological site, nor a town where beautiful pieces of crafts are not offered. Almost in any central place of the city of Cusco you can find shops or street vendors that offer them, as in the portals of the Main Square, for example. But, there are also workshops of famous craftsmen traditionally gathered in the neighborhood of San Blas.The artisan offer in Cusco is diverse, they are fabrics, images, ceramic pieces, silver jewelry with Andean motives, carvings, among other objects


Cusco art are follow two traditions of the highest quality: the Inca and the colonial. The Inca Imperial style is characterized above all by the quality of its polish, the simplicity and nobility of its forms, as well as by the sobriety in its decoration, which is profusely imitated at present by the Cusco artisans. During the colony, the best Cusco ceramics consisted of glazed pieces with a predominance of green on a creamy background and mainly phytomorphic designs, but this type of production is quite rare at present.


Picture: Craftsman from the town of Pisaq


Handicrafts of Cusco:

Peru and Cusco have one of the largest varieties of arts and crafts on Earth. Its diversity, color, creativity and multiple functions of folk art of Peru has turned craftsmanship into a fundamental activity not only for the cultural identity of Peru, but also as a way of life for thousands of families and even entire communities. The Sacred Valley of the Incas and surrounding cities, have a considerable handicraft production, in large part is a skill inherited from their ancestors, the Incas. They emphasize the elaboration of weavings, especially those of handmade alpaca wool, imagery, ceramics , sculptures and miniatures. In the city of Cusco, it is recommended to visit the neighborhood of San Blas, where many artists and artisans live. In San Blas the image makers like the Mendívil, the Olave and the Mérida have achieved international fame for the quality of their work. A good opportunity to buy beautiful handicrafts and to make contact with the native artisans, is in the Sunday fairs that are organized. Those of Pisac and Chinchero stand out.

Cusco Art
 Painting School: 

Characterized by its originality and its great artistic value. It has a double influence: the western current and on the other hand the desire of the natives to give it its own identity. All this current begins with the construction of the Cathedral of Cusco and the arrival of the Italian painter Bernardo Bitti in the year 1583, which is commissioned by the church to paint the main altarpiece and thus painted some masterpieces. Then Peruvian talents continued to follow his artistic trend (Mannerism) and become his own and become Cusquenian Mannerism, among his best exhibitors we have the Luis Reaño disciple of the Italian painter Angelino Medoro, this talented painter left works such as: The murals of Andahuaylillas. Another one that stood out at the beginning of the 17th century was Diego Cusihuamán (Chincheros and Urcos Churches), Francisco de Zuburbarán, Diego Quispe Tito, Marcos Zapata, among the most outstanding. Nowadays there are dozens of murals, and pictures of this school, from the Cathedral of Cusco, to small churches of the place, without a doubt Cusco art can not go unnoticed and that is an important artistic and cultural legacy. Do not forget to visit the 50 canvases painted by the great Marcos Zapata that cover the arches of the Cathedral of Cusco.


Typical dances of Cusco: 

The typical dances of Cusco, are the cultural expression of the people, they represent the work in the land to the slaves of the colony, rites and ceremonies of agriculture, the falling in love, the carnivals, customs with the raising of animals, satirical, etc. They are dances represented with great vitality, by women and men, especially in the festivities of the City of Cusco. There are many Cusco dances for each of the 13 provinces of Cusco, organized by crews and groups moved by devotion to some Virgin or Saint. The costumes are very colorful, the women wear several "polleras" (like skirts), and multicolored jacket  in the hat there are always many flowers, in the feet "ojotas". Men with knee-length pants of a thick cloth, called a cloth with vests and white shirt or multi-colored jackets on the head chullo (knitted hat), hats or feathers, ojotas on the feet and always on the hands a small stick an agricultural instrument or a huaraca and rope sling.

Among the most representative dances are:  

  • Cusqueño Carnival: Celebration of joy and love of carnivals. 
  • Los Jilgueros: Dance with caresses and courtships of birds, which demonstrate purity and truth. 
  • Turkuy: Dance of the Varayoc or village authorities highlight the embroidery of the costumes 
  • Carnival of Ampay: Carnival games 
  • Carnival of Catca: Dance of infatuation
  • Solischallay: Public domain dance was sung to the Peruvian currency in the sun 
  • Q'ara Takay: Dance of Inca origin, replaced at the time of the colony by the patron saint of San Miguel. 
  • Saras Pillu: Saraspillu, corn hair is a dance where the rain is appreciated. 
  • Qaswa Kio: Dance that is danced to thanking a bird, called the river for good production on earth 
  • Sullumayo Carnival: The comuneros gather during the carnivals and bring native birds to the ranch in gratitude for their kindness.
  • Majeño: It is a dance of republican origin, satirical and very happy, practiced in some districts and provinces of Cusco, in particular in the province of Paucartambo, where the “majeño” is ridiculed and satirized.

Typical music of Cusco:

The origin of Andean music is in the Inca and pre-Inca times, it was called taki, both singing and music and had a different melody, for each event whether religious, warrior or prafano. The typical music, today varies according to the area or region. The most widespread genre is the Cusquenian Huayno , with a deep poetic content that harmonizes with a melancholic tone, many consider that more should be heard than being danced. Typical instruments: 

  • Pikillo: Wind instrument, made of hollow cane, with holes, through which the musical sounds come out.  
  • Drum or Tarola: With the leather surface produces a very strong sound.
  • Pututo: It is a river shell that produces a sound when it sounds. it was of Inca use, to announce wars or religious ceremonies.  
  • Ocarina: It is a ceramic similar to a silbao, small, with two holes where the sounds come from. Not original but if very common in their use are the charango, whistles, harps among others.

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