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SCALED FISH OF PUNO
History behind the piece
The scaled fish it’s a piece of popular goldsmithing that has been reproduced countless times in vernacular silverware in the Puno region, and in some cases in towns on the outskirts of Cusco, along with a varied repertoire of beautiful pieces of pre-Columbian origin, among the ones that stand out are the robust command rods trimmed with silverware for the mayors or "varayocs", the lime workers in charge of guarding the lime, and the famous ornamental pins known as tupus.
In fact, these autonomous versions of the scaled and movable fish attributed to the Lake Titicaca area derive from a series of aesthetic transformations applied to the tupus.
Both elements were closely related back in the second half of the 19th century, at which time versions of the ornamental pin began to emerge, now with an exuberant narrative development in a horizontal sense from which not only tiny pots, plates, spoons, but also vizcachas, mermaids and tiny fish with jointed bodies. They were called ttipqui, no longer tupu, and the term taruka (deer) began to become more popular, due to the frequent appearance of the figure of the Andean deer, along with all the decorative paraphernalia of the South Andean baroque.
It is worth mentioning a late modality in which the ttipqui becomes a brooch, in the western sense, now showing itself without the pin that characterized it and, on the contrary, being provided with chains with one or more fish or other ornaments.
The new version made brooch, complemented the feminine trousseau in the Andes since the beginning of the 20th century, being the women of Lupaca, in the province of Chucuito (Puno, Peru) perhaps the last assiduous bearers of this ornament. Few are the stories that testify to its usage. However, it is known that until the middle of the 20th century the women of Lupaca wore a very peculiar way of dressing on Sundays or holidays in which they were shown wearing these silver ornaments pinned to their chests, and figures of scaled fish hanging off from the girdle. For today the tradition has disappeared, and the specimens that recall those times are rarely seen.
This particular scaled fish is a handmade piece from the southern Andean highlands (Puno, Peru), a specimen considered an expression of traditional rural art1. For its creation, two groups of techniques were used to work metal: construction techniques, such as rolling and embossing; as well as decorative techniques, such as engraving, chiselling and satin finish.
Although the ornamental character of this scaled fish in particular is maintained in its forms, its amplified dimensions gave way to stationary decorative uses.
56,5 cm lenght x 8,4 cm heightCondition: Excellent
x 6,2 cm width
x 6,2 cm width
1Rural Traditional Art is considered to be those plastic manifestations created by rural residents whose productions cannot be identified as part of the autochthonous language of an ethnic group. A traditional artist from the rural area who migrates to the city will continue to make traditional rural art as long as he maintains their techniques, forms and functions, since these come from the rural area.