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Toritos de Pucara

Toritos de Pucara in south of Peru, specifically in Pucará-Puno, we can find a character full of mysticism and clay-based art: The Torito de Pucará. This peculiar character, full of colors and Andean details, is the most representative ceramic of the Pucará culture, which has transcended times, staying alive in the Peruvian culture.

The Origens Of Toritos de Pucara

The history of these colorful ceramics dates back to the arrival of the Spaniards to America, when bulls began to be part of the traditional festivals of the region – Titicaca Lake. During these festivities, the animals were decorated with many colors and were applied some spicy sauce on their nose. This is the reason why they are represented by artisans with their tongues out.

The Myth behind the Torito de Pucará

For a long time, in Pukara there was an intense drought. There was no sign of water in the rivers and the wells dried up. A peasant from Pukara one day came up with an idea. He decided to offer a sacrifice to God Pacha Kamaq, the creator of the land. A black bull would be offered as a sacrifice on the top of the Pukara rock. The bull felt that something bad was going to happen to him and refused to climb to the top of the rock. After a lot of effort, the farmer managed to handle it and once on top the bull felt an uncontainable desire to rub against the rock and accidentally nailed its horn to the rock and, magically, water began to pour from it, so much that it was enough to supply the entire population.  Since that miracle, the people admired the bull more than the peasant of whom it is not known much. From that day, the bull became a sacred element and the artisans of Pukara included them in their artistic representations.

The Meaning behind its Details

This peculiar bull has a large number of details which carry many meanings:

  • The hole at the height of the sacrum represents fertilization.
  • The handle represents the union between a man and woman in marriage.
  • The eyes represent the alertness needed for the human being to face the world that surrounds him and the self-observation.
  • The painted details and traces also have a meaning. The spiral shape strokes represent the spiral of life, a belief that what you give will come back to you.

Originally the custom was to place the bulls in sets of two with a cross in between on the roof of the homes, offering protection, fertility and health for the dwellers. This representation comes from the Andean culture symbolizing man and woman, good and evil, the fusion between positive and negative energies, the Andean duality, two opposites generating balance, similar to what is represented by the Yin Yang.

Now that you know the history behind these representative bulls and you know that It is a highly requested piece for both nationals and foreigners who visit Peru and want to have one at home.

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