The Chachapoya Art Style
Like the culture itself, the Chachapoya art style reflects a mix
of local and exotic influences that point to connections with the
east and the west. We are just beginning to unravel the origins
and evolution of this little known art style. The well-preserved
burial offerings from the Laguna de los Cóndores are playing
a vital part in finding answers to the genesis of the style, revealing
new imagery on perishable artifacts such as textiles and gourds.
In the words of Cieza, the Chachapoya “made fine and highly
prized clothing for the Incas, and they still make excellent garments
and tapestry so fine and handsome that it is greatly esteemed for
its quality.” 52 The textiles from the Laguna de los Cóndores
displayed in the Museo Leymebamba bear witness to the skill of the
Chachapoya weavers, not only in the art and technology of cloth
manufacture but also in the distinct imagery decorating weavings.
pottery in general is quite simple, especially when compared to
the textile arts, at which Chachapoya artisans excelled. Most ceramics
are utilitarian, brown wares manufactured by coiling or by forming
a slab of clay. They decorated their pottery with appliqué,
incision, punctuation, and stamping. The vessels are usually decorated
on the rim of the body with appliquéd strips; some incised,
and protruding knobs were often applied to the bodies of the vessels.
Some of the pottery is influenced by the Cajamarca tradition, which
flourished on the west bank of the Marañón river.
From left to right: Inca
provincial-style vessel; Detail of a textile, in tapestry, decorated
with human and feline heads; Chimu-Inca style pottery (Adriana von