Recording Celebrations, Traditions & Myths

Gourd Storytelling

In Peru, storytelling through gourd carving has a long history. Archeologists found a gourd depicting deities over 4,000 years old. For centuries carvers have been serving their communities by recording special events such as religious celebrations, weddings and other traditions with intricate detail.

A Tradition that Exceeds Time

Today, in the tiny Andean village of Cochas almost everyone is a gourd artists, and fine gourd carving has been practiced for generations.

A Family Tradition

Pablo, master gourd carver, recalls his grandfather telling how it all started. “Around 200 years ago, people from Huancayo made regular trips to the jungle to trade for rice, beans and other goods. There they met people from many places including carvers from Ayacucho from whom they learned their art.” So they brought the techniques back to their Andean village while creating a style of their own!

Decorative and Utilitarian Art

Besides decorative purposes, gourds in Peru also serve as functional vessels for storing spices or serving food or chicha, a traditional corn beer.