The Art and Architecture of Ancient America: The Mexican, Maya, and Andean Peoples

By George Kubler | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 14
CENTRAL PERU

ORIGINALITY in the repertory of expressive forms is rare throughout the region between the Paramonga and Cañete Valleys. Whether on the coast or in the highlands, buildings and crafts resemble those of other regions, as if central Peru had been a receptacle for styles originating elsewhere. Thus examples both of the Paracas style and of a style related to Chavín occur at Playa Grande near Ancón in the same approximate stratum at the beginning of the sequence of the fine wares.1 This intermediate position between powerful artistic radiations from north and south makes it difficult to identify a specific regional expression: perhaps central Peru was always the natural meeting place for northern and southern traditions, constituting a limitrophic province rather than an autonomous artistic region.2 The exact boundary between northern and southern archaeological traditions has tentatively been fixed by Stumer between the Rimac and Chillón Valleys just north of Lima.3

In any event, central Peruvian sites are important and large enough to warrant treatment in a separate chapter. Thus Pachacamac was a metropolitan centre, much like Lima during colonial and republican periods, although depending far less upon sea- borne commerce than the viceregal capital. North of Lima the stylistic connexions of the coastal valleys point to Ancash and beyond. South of Lima, connexions are more common with the Tiahuanaco and Inca styles, that is, with the southern highlands.


FROM LIMA NORTH
Figure 101. Tapestry fragment representing a condorfeline figure, from Supe, Chavín style, before 200 (?)

The group of the northern valleys, from the Rimac to Huarmey, embraces about 160 miles of the Pacific Coast. Close to the beach, at Ancón and at Supe, 80 miles farther north, are large cemeteries and middens containing objects worked in the coastal Chavín style.4 On both sites the early pottery is red or black, with the characteristic incised surfaces of Chavín art. There are stirrup spouts, and at Ancón and Supe the images include serpents, felines, and birds in the Chavón style. The

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