A Million Hands

A study of Arts and Crafts from around the world.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Plaza de Armas is a place located in Peru where potters made Quinua Ayacucho pottery. Of all art forms in Peru, pottery lands at the top of the list. You will find a number of interesting techniques, shapes, colors, and designs. However, most of these are specific to the region within Peru in which the pottery is made.

The town of Quinua is most known for the talent of the potters. They are famous for manufacturing pieces of pottery known as "Quinua Ceramics". Each of these pieces is designed to display local customs. Quinua is just 23 miles from the capital city and is the site of the Battle of Ayacucho where the country received its independence when fighting against Spanish troops.

In addition to Quinua Ayacucho pottery, this city is also famous for the high quality of red and cream clay that is used to make the pottery pieces. Although the forms and techniques are simple, almost child-like, the results are what amaze people. Many of the pottery pieces are chapels, churches, bulls, and houses. However, it is also common to see figurines of peasant farmers, neighbors busy gossiping, and religious themes.

Now, you can purchase Quinua Ayacucho pottery from a number of shops that specialize in these pieces or if you prefer, directly from one of the artisans who will sign the piece made. Of all the pottery pieces, the chapel and churches are the most popular. Typically, these ceramic pieces are used on mantles, bookshelves, or tables. Interestingly, the church pottery piece is used to protect homes from evil spirits, which is why you see them displayed.

When visiting Quinua, you can visit the Plaza area by climbing the charming cobblestone walkway. The buildings in this town are whitewashed and there is even a quaint village church. These pottery pieces are exported around the globe because of the quality and whimsy of each piece. In fact, the local people have become quite good at marketing the products, getting word out about these brightly colored pottery pieces. However, today you will even find Quinua Ayacucho pottery made in pastel colors, something unheard of years ago. In fact, original pieces were all earth tone.

Although you will find more and more modern pieces of pottery being developed you can certainly still buy the traditional church or other figurines. While there are many skilled artisans that make Quinua Ayacucho pottery, one of the most famous artists is Mamerto Sanchez. As you walk along the main road, you will find a number stalls where pieces are sold.


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