A small town of the Utcubamba Valley – in the northern region of Chachapoya –perching at 1,800 metres in the Peruvian Amazon, has re-discovered its cultural roots thanks to the warm passion of its inhabitants.
In the quietness of the altitude, surrounded by much higher peaks and built on stones, you will find a town, full of gentle people, tasty coffee and skilled artisans, who, by vocation and with infinite dedication, have learned and refined their arts by studying their ancestors’ fabrics and artefacts.
If you have never seen a mummy in a remarkable state of conservation, this is the perfect place to make their acquaintance by encountering two hundred of them at once, arrived straight from the mausoleum at the Laguna de los Condores.
Today their home is in the colourful museum, locally managed with careful attention to detail, and built with the vibrant colours of the pre-Incan civilisations by following the original designs of their constructions.
Lama are left to roam freely in the gardens outside the museum and they seem to match perfectly with the surroundings, completely at ease, especially if it is for a photograph.
Among other artisans and various local businesses, you must encounter the real guardians of the local ancestral culture: Señor Miguel and Dona Isabel, his ornamental wooden statues, and her colourful fabric.
With them you can retrace the real journey through time and creativity, that started the moment the mummies reached the museum.
Dona Isabel has always been enchanted by the colours that the environment provides, always looking for new leaves, blossoms and roots. She is constantly searching for unexpected nuances given by the natural pigments, which she cannot wait to infuse the wool with.
Her creativity is embedded in the bags and accessories, and reflected in the combinations of colours, while her choice of design for the patterns used comes from her strong commitment to pass on her cultural roots.
The real action-moments for the visitors are the hands-on workshops, during which you start with flowers and end up working on the waist loom to create your own piece with the supportive guidance of Dona Isabel.
Señor Miguel, a humble master of the art of carving, also likes passing on his knowledge through manual activities, but he prefers to stay in the serene corner of his studio. His soft smile often hidden behind the pieces he has created by observing the originals in the museum.
These two individuals are cultural pillars of the community, responsible for the transmission of the Chachapoya culture and its ancient knowledge, but, most of all, they are kind human beings, happy to share their art and their stories with the world.