The great historical and cultural heritage of Peru has developed and nurtured a thriving tradition of handicraft and artisanal production in the country.
Peruvian handicraft objects always find a hugely profitable export market in Europe, North America, and Asia. Like other elements of Peruvian art and culture, crafts of Peru are also deeply connected with the national identity and ethnic imaginations. The extremely colorful examples of Peruvian folk art are not just simply crafted objects, but they also symbolize a way of life for Sarhua, Quinua and other indigenous communities of Peru.
These objects are not mere decorative things for them.
In the cosmic world of the Peruvian artisans, the objects they handcraft are always imbued with deep meanings and symbolic values. They are the socio-cultural relics of a people who communicate primarily through art.
Peruvian handicraft is a living tradition that is deeply inspired and influenced by centuries of Peruvian history and cultural heritage.
Like all other art forms practiced in Peru, the artisanal crafts also reflect an ingenious blending or coexistence of pre-Hispanic patterns and motifs with those introduced by the Spanish colonists. Today, the indigenous artisans of Peru are highly praised by the connoisseurs from all over the world for their unique Indian patterns and geometrical motifs along with the excellent quality and superior craftsmanship of their products.
Here are three major Peruvian handicraft industries which are absolutely crucial to understand Peruvian culture and national identity:
Pottery is perhaps the oldest surviving art form among the indigenous people of Peru. The Peruvian artisans had developed advanced ceramic techniques even before the onset of the Inca civilization. The pottery from Chulucanas in the Piura Region of contemporary Peru, which have a huge demand from all over the world, draws its inspirations from the bold designs of the pre-Incan pottery. On the other hand, the ceramic traditions of the Imperial Inca, as well as the Spanish colonists, have heavily influenced the designs and motifs of the world-famous Cuzco pottery which is known for its vibrant colors.
Any description of Peruvian handicrafts is incomplete without a mention of Peruvian textiles. Ethnic wears, quilts, blankets, funeral shrouds, scarves, hats, sweaters, handbags woven of threads of vibrant colors – they are hard to miss in a Peruvian town or village. Besides, brown and white cottons, wool of alpaca, vicuna and sheep are also preferred materials for indigenous Peruvian fabrics. The artisans mostly favor natural dyes over aniline colors. The traditional textile products from Cuzco region is world famous for their unique geometrical and floral patterns. Similarly, Ayacucho textiles are acclaimed for their abstract designs.
Peru has been an extremely mineral-rich country for centuries. This, along with the Peruvian people’s natural knack in art and adornment, has facilitated the development of a thriving jewelry industry in Peru. The Peruvian jewelers are extremely skilled in a variety of techniques including smelting, filigree, chiseling, incrustations, gilding or laminating, and various processes of alloy-making. The designs show a curious blending of pre-Inca, Imperial Inca and Spanish forms.