Chulucanas Pottery

by admin on November 9, 2008

Pottery from Chulucanas

Pottery from Chulucanas

On a recent visit to Peru, Meg and I traveled the dirt roads in the Piura region of Peru in the north, in a rented taxi in search of handcrafted pottery.  We arrived after a long rainy season that had washed out several important bridges but we were intent on exploring the town of Chulucanas, famous for its pottery. The techniques used to create these stunning pieces of pottery dates back to pre-Inca times and most of the pottery follows monochromatic colors with many of the geometric designs part of ancient symbols.  After a bumpy, dusty ride we found ourselves walking up and down a well trodden residential area where artisans displayed their work in the front “living” rooms of their homes.  The home made kilns were fired up in their backyards and the smell of burning mango leaves was in the air.  This earthenware is made from clay found in Chulucanas. The Vicus culture existed in northern Peru for more than a thousand years and the techniques used to create the pottery remain a tradition. Using only their hands, feets, stone and simple wood tools, artisans fashion beautiful pottery, baked in the old way in wood ovens. The urns, vases and other handcrafted vessels were remarkable and we spent several hours walking from home to home, accompanied by the increasingly large group of children who found our visit fascinating.  I found an artisan who had moved beyond the striking black and white geometrics that are common to Chulucanas; she was removing layers of mango leaves at different intervals in the firing process to come up with a striking series of browns in her designs.  I wrapped them up and took them home, where they are a lovely addition to the decor of my living room.