Toritos de Pucará (Pucara Bulls), the Origins and Meaning of this Mystic Character of the Andean Culture

In the South of Peru, in Pukara, Puno, less than 100 km. from Lake Titicaca, we can find a character full of mysticism: the Torito de Pucará or Pucara bull.

A piece of art made in clay with high spiritual and protective value and which is present in the making of ceremonies of fertility, protection of the livestock, productive harvest and any other aspect of the daily life of the communities in which good luck and a little help is always important. This peculiar character, full of colors and Andean details, is the most representative ceramic piece of the Pukara culture, which has transcended times and spread its mysticism to other geographical locations, staying alive even until nowadays in the Peruvian culture.

The Origins

The history of these colorful ceramics dates back to the arrival of the Spaniards to America, when bulls began to be part of the traditional festivals of the region. During these festivities, the animals were decorated with many colors and were applied some spicy sauce on their nose. This is the reason why they are represented by artisans with their tongues out.

The Myth behind the Torito de Pucará

For a long time, in Pukara there was an intense drought. There was no sign of water in the rivers and the wells dried up. A peasant from Pukara one day came up with an idea. He decided to offer a sacrifice to God Pacha Kamaq, the creator of the land. A black bull would be offered as a sacrifice on the top of the Pukara rock.  The bull felt that something bad was going to happen to him and refused to climb to the top of the rock. After a lot of effort, the farmer managed to handle it and once on top the bull felt an uncontainable desire to rub against the rock and accidentally nailed its horn to the rock and, magically, water began to pour from it, so much that it was enough to supply the entire population.  Since that miracle, the people admired the bull more than the peasant of whom it is not known much. From that day, the bull became a sacred element and the artisans of Pukara included them in their artistic representations.

The Meaning behind its Details

This peculiar bull has a large number of details which carry many meanings:

  • The hole at the height of the sacrum represents fertilization;
  • The handle represents the union between a man and woman in marriage;
  • The eyes represent the alertness needed for the human being to face the world that surrounds him and the self-observation;
  • The painted details and traces also have a meaning. The spiral shape strokes represent the spiral of life, a belief that what you give will come back to you.

Originally the custom was to place the bulls in sets of two with a cross in between on the roof of the homes, offering protection, fertility and health for the dwellers. This representation comes from the Andean culture symbolizing man and woman, good and evil, the fusion between positive and negative energies, the Andean duality, two opposites generating balance, similar to what is represented by the Yin Yang.

Nowadays, it is common to find these pieces in some homes in Peru, either as a piece of decoration inside the house or on the roofs. Many have them because of its colorful colors and others because of the ancestral meaning and the belief they offer protection and good luck.

It is a very sought after piece for both nationals and foreigners who visit Peru, who wish to have one at home.

In this occasion, is introducing this particular and singular character in its web site in carefully crafted pieces with fine details in Peruvian Sterling Silver 950. We are sure they will add a touch of mysticism to your home and will look perfect whatever your style. Good luck!!

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