Wednesday, 6 February 2013

cusco wanderings

Our second day in Cusco was brief, since we had to take a taxi to Ollantaytambo in the afternoon. The sun, so high and (relatively) near the equator, was strong for such an otherwise cool day. We wandered out of the centre of town to buy tickets and browse markets. 

One of my favourite things about Cusco was the religious art. I'm already a big fan of Catholic kitsch, but this was something else. My photos aren't great, but I have to include this one of Jesus eating cuy: a last supper featuring guinea-pig = genius! 

Peru is a country of remix and mash-up: it's full of many different ethnicities, religions, races and nationalities. The religious art illustrates Peru's aptitude for pastiche: when the Spanish colonists arrived, Catholicism was foisted upon the Incas and they adapted to their own religions and beliefs. From Roman soldiers sporting Conquistador helmets, to archangels clutching harquebuses and sprouting wings of parrot feathers, crucifixions with Jesus sporting a lace skirt and Virgins with robes shaped like the mountains worshipped by the pre-Incas, it was unlike anything I've ever seen. Other bizarre depictions included the Virgin breast-feeding and the Holy Trinity hanging out together. 

When the rain started coming down we said goodbye to the Cusco dog's club and jumped in our taxi. Our driver told us some crazy stories about his childhood and the years of terrorism and violence that plagued the highlands: how his father would hide him in the mountains when men from the Shining Path came to the village and killed the cows to redistribute among the people. And how his grandparents would make the same journey in a week on a donkey to get salt each winter. 

Vive el Peru! 

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