Monday, July 31, 2006

The Recuay Culture of Peru: [400 BC-800 AD-Ancash, Region]

The Recuay Culture is one of several fairly advanced pre-Inca societies of the first millennium AD in Peru, such as the Moche and Nazca. Best known for advanced ceramic art and stone cutting, the Recuay people were farmers and herders, whom lived in the Callejón de Huaylas Valley of the northern highlands of Peru, they were contemporaneous with the Moche culture, of the neighboring northern coast. They are known for their pottery, and the basic three colors they used.

The first civilizations in Peru, date back some 13,000-years, about 1250 BC, several advanced cultures, such as the Chavín (North part of Peru), Chimú (South part of Peru), Nazca, and Tiwanaku [Bolivia], developed in several sections, or regions of Peru, and what now is Bolivia. The Inca empire united what is now known as the better part of South America, within perhaps a 50-year period, with its base in Cuzco; a totalitarian state for the most part. The Recuay civilization was an Andean society of the Classic Period.

The art of the Moche and Nazca, are quite well known throughout the world, the Recuay cultural art [pottery in particular] are perhaps equal, but less known simply because of their location, and the instability in the highlands. I have been in the highlands, and it is rough, many flood areas, much of it has to be traveled bay horse. The Wari expansion came about 750 AD, and it seems the Recuay culture dyed out some.

So little is written about this Culture of Peru, it is a shame. Some of their figurines, like the llama, and the devils are quite impressive, among their other ceramics. Very little is known of the social organization and settlements of this culture.

Ancash, a region, and part of the highlands of Northern Peru, are many sites available for the armature archeologist to enjoy himself (and mountain climbing, which I care not for). Agriculture and herding are among its better-known exchange. You will see fruits, potatoes in this high altitude society for sale also.

Recuay Heartland: communities were based around hilltop fortifications: settlements, here one had a defensive edge, and could have their ceremonial activates in some small way, in peace.

They have a distinctive artisan art style compared to their neighbors, I’ve have seen the work from almost every culture in Peru, and they have what I call a dark side to some of their work, as well as light side. Some monolith stone work, mummy and devil style; and for their period, very sophisticated. Some of the potteries are of thin oxidized past. Whitish clay is often used, I’ve seen this and handled the objects, and they are fine sculptures indeed, the white clay is known as kaolinite; they made animals, supernatural figures, again I’ve handled them, and they are unique, and one would be a prize to own.

From what I’ve seen, and I have not seen all of their stonework, or ceramics, or textiles, but much of it is I do believe, of mortuary ritual, ancestor worship, the public leaders.

The period I find most interesting in their artwork is 200 BC to 800 AD that could be considered almost their whole life existence as a culture of antiquity. But they as, many cultures have, had a transformation. There was kind of a cultural exchange shift, or pattern in northern Peru, in the North Highlands, following the Chavin’s collapse in 100 BC, and the interactions between them and Recuay. Perhaps a second one between 200-700 AD, with the Moche and in 750 AD, the Wari; thus, we can see a complexity in their societal ancient character, if we follow them from one stage to another.

—Ancash is a region located in Northern Peru, its capitol city is Huaraz, and its largest city is Chimbote. The name of the region originates from Quechua “anqash,’ meaning ‘blue.”


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