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.

Chachapoya 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 Hagen)

More Information:
The Chachapoya Religion Language
Economy Residential Architecture Funerary Architecture
Art Style Kuelap