The Artisan Tradition in Peru: Pottery, Textiles and Jewelry

by admin on October 10, 2008

Peruvian artisans pride themselves on traditional craftsmanship techniques that date back to the pre-Hispanic period, drawing from their roots in Andean civilizations. As far back as the 9th Century BC, Peruvian artisans were creating handcrafted jewelry that was both deeply religious and symbolic in nature. The artisans worked with silver, gold, and ceramics to create a variety of artisan crafts, incorporating sophisticated geometric patterns in a practice that can still be seen in modern Peruvian artisan crafts today.

The utilitarian and decorative nature of Peruvian artisan pottery is most widely known for the fine tones achieved by potters through their use of the color black in burnishing their ceramics, and for their method of cutting off oxygen flow to the oven to achieve the desired effect. Also characteristic to Peruvian artisan crafts are the incorporation of characters such as musicians, vendors, dancers, and animals that seem to come to life in the hand-worked clay.

Peruvian textiles were traditionally used as sacred fabrics to honor deities and were used in ancient rituals. The textile creation process is very labor-intensive and requires extraordinary skill. A single finished piece may be made from 6 to 9 miles of different colored thread. The artisans created many small variations, incorporating both geometric patterns and fluid details, ensuring that no two pieces are alike.

Each gem, stone or seed in a piece of Peruvian artisan handcrafted jewelry has a symbolic significance born of the pre-Hispanic Peruvian culture, designed with the nature of the materials in mind, so that each piece of silver handcrafted jewelry is unique.