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POLLURUAEl art rupestre of Pollurua in Paclas, Amazons, Peru


The art rupestre of the Peruvian region of Amazons is still little studied, but one has news that other numerous expressions of this art exist in the wide territory that possesses hence, we present a first approach to the art rupestre of the archaeological place of Pollurua that consists of a rocky shed with geometric and anthropomorphous pictografías. For the atmosphere in which is located, corresponds to the modality of isolated place without association to cemeteries. Some of the reasons keep relationship with the art mural of the prehispanic typical circular enclosures of late times of the valley of Utcubamba, region of Amazons, Peru.


Paclas is a town seated in high summits that exclude the basin of the river Utcubamba, in the county of Luya, region of Amazons, Peru. They are territories where big mountains are imposed that descend to deep gulches, that which comes to configure a true geography of ecological clear contrasts. And it was in fact this ecological disagreement one of the factors that motivated the human presence from quite old times. The most primitive residents in the region made comfortable and they transformed those atmospheres after organizing them in the most appropriate form for the production of the sustenance cuotidiano. In that fight and understanding with the nature were leaving their cultural expressions in the different spaces that occupied then. And for this reason at the moment are discovered in Paclas and other communities of their environment, vestiges that surprise the own inhabitants of the region and the scientific community in general. The archaeological remains of you Dry off, Paclas-Urco and Pollurúa come to constitute, in that context, new jalones to understand the old history of the area, of the one which little it is what is known until the moment. We only know that Paclas understood an ethnic similar group to that of Luya, Screech you and Chachapoya but of territorial smaller extension that these if we observe the map of the ethnoses of Marañón and Utcubamba proposed by the historian Waldemar Espinoza Soriano (Espinoza Soriano 1967). Indeed the archaeological remains of you Dry off and Paclas Urco shows an architecture whose characteristic architectural they respond to a tradition common to the groups of Luya, Chillao and Chachapoya. At the moment Paclas and for ende the place of Pollurua, like we indicate before, they are located in the county of Luya.

For the previous considerations and as a result of an exploration of the place of Pollurua, we offer these notes now with the intention of understanding the nature of one of the cultural existent expressions in the community amazonense of Paclas whose old residents had used a rockface where they captured several representations polichrome rupestres.

Location and environment

The place of Pollurúa, it is located in hillsides of strong slope that descend abruptly from the territories of the district of Paclas (county of Luya, region of Amazons, Peru), toward the area of Churuja, in the bottom of the valley of Utcubamba. Those abysmal hillsides, located in the left margin of the river Utcubamba, are full with heaths where some rocky formations that appear amid the vegetation arbustiva highlight. The area of those lands, in geographical terms, corresponds to the Quechua area, of temperate climate, but, for that had an accident of the floor they are scarce the cultivations. It is rather the bottom of the valley the one that offers varied fruit-bearing as bananas, citric and cane of sugar, but it is plentiful a plant like the "pitajaya" of eatable and medicinal properties especially, product of the microclimate that there reigns.

The course to arrive to the place has to be made by lorry, from the city of Lamud, capital of the county of Luya, until the place of Pollurua but going before by the town of Paclas. The highway is of recent construction and in all its journey sharp hillsides are observed that continue until the area of Churuja in the bottom of the valley. This valley is enough strait and cultivations are only observed toward the banks of the river. The rocky shed lies in an almost rural atmosphere where it highlights with clarity a stony conglomerate in which the expressive pictografías of old times is observed. It was the construction of the highway exactly what motivated their identification and recognition as well as it facilitated our presence in the place.

The rocky Coat

The rock is hardly a shed of scarce depth, so we cannot qualify her like a cave or cavern. It is guided toward the East and of him he/she restrains a wide panorama that understands, toward the low part, a sector of the basin of the river Utcubamba, where the towns of Churuja and Donce are and toward the part but several high summits and rural hillsides of the counties of Luya and Bongará.

Their dimensions indicate 19.60m. of long in the mouth with 7m. of height and a depth of 2m. It is observed that the biggest depth corresponds to the sector of the roof, that which has facilitated the protection of the drawings, because in spite of the fact that the rains in the winter time are strong, the reasons are in good conservation state.

The support of the pictografías corresponds to a rock of gritty of reddish tone with numerous cracks and flat spaces that were wittily taken advantage to capture the drawings. Toward the north side of the shed other coats are appreciated but of small dimensions and in which paintings don't exist. Neither we have been able to identify any lithic rest or of ceramic to the foot of the coat or in their immediate environment. Of having located it they would have been good as track to discuss the antiquity of the paintings. Also, it is not associated to any tomb type, like it usually happens in other cases of the region, in those which some mausoleums and anthropomorphous sarcophaguses are accompanied by paintings rupestres.

Pictorial art

In spite of that cracked of the shed, the old artists managed in the best way to express their art and to capture the graphic information that you/they wanted to communicate to the community of the environment. Which informative system knew to take advantage for this ends, the flat diverse facets of the rockface, especially in the sector of the roof and some lateral facets. We could say that they didn't leave empty spaces in the rocky used panels, because they stuffed them with profusion of drawings, using for their execution paintings of different colors. It was used, fundamentally, the red, brown, white, yellow colors. The native paintbrush in this case is not fine but yes sure. The reasons that prevail represent human figures, geometric reasons, and drawings of animals. The human figures are totally schematic and they have been carried out based on lines, with the arms flexionados directed up or down. The legs flexionadas is also shown, so that these figures show to be in movement as if they seemed to dance or to be in attitude of adoration. Some have an appendix among the legs that it should point out the sex. The color of these reasons is, also, red dark.

Among the geometric reasons, they highlight the concentric circles, painted in several colors and, sometimes, they take to the center a reason zoomorfo or, in their biggest part, a circumference or simple points. They also exist, hairsprings, scrolls geometrizadas, Greek, wavy lines by way of snakes, the Andean cross or chakana, circular figures with rays as if was representations of the solar star and also triangular figures. Two figures appear formed of two united rhombuses and one is of a single rhombus but all possess appendixes toward the ends they are associated to the figures of concentric circles. Also, they are distinguished lines lineal and simple stains of different colors. The figures zoomorfas suggest to have represented quadruped animals as if they were deers. There are them of red dark color and one white.

Approach to their meaning

In a first interpretation intent, we can affirm that the place of Pollurua, constitutes an important center of art rupestre of the district of Paclas in the Peruvian region of Amazons. The representations rupestres captured by the old painters of the area, had in Pollurúa one of their native regional more outstanding expressions of the plastic one. The place, he/she should have some special attribute as so that the native artists considered it an important support where to express their message, because, probably, the place had some bond with aspects magic religious or beliefs of a lot of significance for the social group that he/she inhabited their suburbs.

According to the used diverse colors, one can think of an overlapping of the drawings that would have taken place through the time, because it is possible that the diverse groups that inhabited the area old times, left, each one, the symbols that you/they wanted to perpetuate. This fact would have caused the presence of the great quantity of drawings that is observed. Some of the drawings, as the broken lines, the fretworks, the Andean cross and the rhombuses have relationship with the art mural practiced by the inhabiting preincaicos of Amazons, among which Luya, Chillao and Chachapoya highlight, for example who used similar concepts, but carried out in stones embedded in the apparel of the walls of their enclosures of more prestige. Those social groups overcome their antiquity a centuries X to XV d. C. with that which one could argue that the expressions schematic and geometric rupestres of Pollurua date of that time.

Certain rocky coats of the basin of the river Marañón, in the part that corresponds to the region of Amazons, Chiñuña for example, also shows similar expressions with the paintings of Pollurua. You can also correlate, from the formal point of view, with some centers of art rupestre of the basin of the river Chinchipe and others of the county of Jaen (Good and Lozano, 1982; Gamonal, 1981, 1986; Lozano,1982; Miasta 1979). It happens identical relationship with some pictografías that we have observed in the basin of the river Gache in the territory of the same county of Luya. He/she also keeps linkings with the paintings rupestres of the cave of Chanque in the neighboring district of Olto (Ruiz 1998). In all the mentioned places it is frequent to find, especially, an anthropomorphous schematic figure with the extended extremities and always of red color. Not we should stop to score that certain paintings of red dark color, existent in Pollurua that represent to human beings and deers, overcome their antiquity perhaps to centuries previous to X d.C. when the activity of the hunt prevailed in the productive activities of the native communities. These scenes could also be related with the paintings of the archaeological place of Yamón, place where equally hunt scenes appear that were colored using shades of red dark color (Shady and Ruiz 1987). For that reason we think that most of figures of Pollurua should be from later date to those of Yamón.

For the modern eyes, the seemingly entreverado and confused panorama of the pictografías of Pollurua, keep an order for who you/they painted them originally rather. For example, the circular figures group in a sector and the concentric lines that conform it they are of different colors, the anthropomorphous schematic figures have a brown dark color. The geometric designs are of a red clear color. Not it would have been, then, an art or representation made at random and we are maybe before a square that symbolizes aspects of the nature, the man and the sidereal space, that which you could evidence for the concentric numerous circles and hairsprings drawn next to the human figures, to the animals and the geometric reasons.

It is necessary to score that for the native prehispanic groups, the stars of the firmament constituted supernatural beings considered in the sphere of their mythology. It can be used that circular such drawings would be symbolizing in the sun, to the moon and other stars. These and other non identified figures, are perhaps the consequence of ritual ceremonies in those that he/she had special function the consumption of hallucinogens under whose effects were able to capture those enigmatic representations. Then it can be attributed that this figures of concentric circles and hairsprings could be the reflection graficado in the stone of the shamanes ideas motivated by the ingestion of hallucinogens if we appeal to a recent publication it has more than enough designs circular rupestres (Marriner 2008). Indeed the region of Amazons has been considered as faith healers' area and shamanes that well should use from times hallucinogenic old substances during the magic and religious practices. Then it can be attributed these characters the execution of the drawings rupestres of the present study.

An interesting aspect that we should mention is the relative to the presence of these paintings in a rocky shed isolated then in the region it is frequent to identify paintings rupestres associated to cemeteries built in abysmal cliffs. That is to say that in Amazons the art rupestre can be given in two types of atmospheres: 1) in blocks, caves or isolated sheds and 2) in the rockfaces next to cemeteries.

Not we can still know with certainty the astronomical significance of these drawings, but it is evident that there was, in certain way, a pictorial linked delirium, perhaps, to rites ancestral heliolátricos. For similar scenes of other parts of the world one has said that they produce the impression of being the representation like of a planetarium of sidereal constellations. Keeping in mind these ideas and if we abide to Domingo's proposal Sánchez (2000) who outlines that many figures rupestres of America can very well to represent to the stars or the meteors, according to the form that you/they evidence. Of there that the figures rupestres of Pollurua perhaps can symbolize a space map in the native cosmovisión, because they appear exactly, you figure circular simple or circular figures with rays that look like to the stars like the sun, perhaps the moon and the stars, amid other anthropomorphous figures and zoomorfas. It is necessary to also keep in mind that the life of the prehispanic communities, like it is the case of the human groups Luya, Chillao and Chachapoya, with which link to the paintings of Pollurua, they unwrapped their economy fundamentally with the help of the agricultural exploitation, for that which became necessary to know the movement of the stars that propitiated the appropriate times of their daily diverse activities. For that reason, it is possible that, this groups, when being linked to this phenomena, have registered the image of some celestial bodies then. There was an interest then in the astronomical observation. However, the same as in other cases of this type of expression rupestre one can argue other interpretations. In any event, it is a fundamental fact that Pollurua, constitutes a pictorial great monument, of great interest for the study of the History of the Old Art and the world of the beliefs of the Peruvian region of Amazons.

Source: Ruiz Estrada, Arturo. The art rupestre of Pollurua in Paclas, Amazons, Peru. In Rupestreweb,













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© Copyright 2005 Gualberto Valderrama C.