peruvian art and craft

Peruvian art is generally viewed from a diminished perspective. Since many see it with a marked Spanish influence. But actually, Peruvian art dates back long before the arrival of the settlers. And we could divide this into two characteristic stages. The former is marked by local crafts, such as weavings, intricate designs, and carefully carved ceramics. This was considered the original art form of the Andes. Then came the second stage, the influence of Neo-Baroque, Spanish Gothic, and Catholic religious art. These were a large part of the colonization from the early 16th century. And it was in this combination of art and styles that contemporary Peruvian art originated. And together with the Machu Travel Peru team, we want to tell you all about Peruvian Art.

Everything you need to know about Peruvian art 


Despite the great evolution of Peruvian art, there is no linear progression. Andean textiles and Spanish architecture continue to coexist to this day. They live in a kind of syncretism where both cultures took the best of each other. Ancient Andean art forms continue to be the practice of many contemporary artisans. And the imposing colonial buildings left to us by the Spanish are now monuments that show what once was. Andean art forms still point the way forward for many artisans. While the attempt of the Spaniards to snatch our identity and customs are only in the memory of the Peruvian struggle. If you plan to do some shopping in Peru, be sure to visit the different markets. These are full of crafts that are worth knowing.


A large part of Peruvian art is based on the literature of our country. The connection between literature and contemporary art is undeniable. Much of Peruvian literature has preserved a large number of texts in Quechua. From Inca times you can see some dramas such as Ollantay, one of the best-known works of Quechua literature. It was composed in 1470 by an unknown author. But true Peruvian literature has its roots in pre-Columbian oral traditions. Such as The Royal Commentaries of the Incas, published in 1609.

But after Independence, Romanticism and Costumbrism were some of the most popular literary genres. Such can be seen in some works by Ricardo Palma. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Indigenismo movement produced a great series of incredible writers. Ciro Alegría, Cesar Vallejo and Jose Maria Arguedas being some of its greatest exponents. But during the second half of the century, Peruvian literature took on other colors with authors such as Mario Vargas Llosa.


peruvian art craft music dances

And Peruvian art is also made up of the incredible dances and dances of Peru. Not everything is Peruvian souvenirs, the dances and music of Peru are aspects to be appreciated. Peruvian music is a melting pot of sounds and styles that have Peruvian and Spanish roots and influences. Native Peruvian music is dominated by the national instrument, the Charango. The Charango is a kind of mandolin that had its origins in Bolivia. It was created by musicians trying to imitate Spanish guitars. 

And among the most traditional dances of Peru, we have the Cachua and the Huayno. The Cachua usually dance in groups within open spaces. While the Huayno could be considered as a ballroom dance. But Huayno is also a musical genre where traditional music is mixed with popular music and urban dances. It is characteristic of this genre to hear high-pitched voices accompanied by a great variety of instruments. Another great traditional dance of Peru is the marinera. This dance is more common within the coastal regions and is known as the “National Dance of Peru.”


peruvian art craft paintings

As for painting within Peruvian art, we can say that it had its origin within the colonial era. The Spanish painters of yesteryear came to the Viceroyalty of Peru to teach the different techniques to local artists. In this way, they could capture a new iconographic interpretation of reality on the canvases. This was one of the most important ways of colonization. Many of the Catholic deities adapted to indigenous sensibilities and many Andean deities were portrayed as saints. This resulted in a new way of seeing the world and the old Andean worldview was forever changed. It was a clear attempt by the Spanish to forcibly colonize the natives

This own path had its maximum expression within the “Escuela del Cuzco”. Today, the paintings and their replicas are offered in numerous artisan establishments. You can find them in all parts of Peru. Many of the works offered are excellent souvenirs to buy in Machu Picchu.


peruvian art craf architecture

Peruvian architecture is another of the Peruvian art forms that deserve great recognition. If you are going to travel around Peru, architecture is one of the most remarkable aspects. You will be able to see buildings of different styles and architectural schools that are worth your visit. The diversity and long history unfold from pre-Hispanic times to the present day. Peruvian colonial architecture is the great union of European styles exposed to the influence of the indigenous imagination. 

One of the best-known examples of the Renaissance is the Cathedral of Cusco. After this period, cultural syncretism reached a better expression in the baroque. Some examples of this are the Convent of San Francisco in Lima and the Iglesia de la Compañía. But with the wars of independence, neoclassicism took center stage. By the 20th century, a marked eclecticism could be seen where there was an opposition of constructive functionalism. A great example is the Plaza de San Martín in Lima.


peruvian art craft ceramics

Ceramics is another great part of Peruvian Art. The first ceramics producer was the Chavín culture. The town of Chavín began to make clay pots in the shape of animals from 1000 BC. But this was not the only ancient Peruvian culture that dabbled in the art of ceramics. The Moche culture was one of the most popular civilizations due to its erotic ceramics. Today ceramics are still an important point of Peruvian Art. Contemporary artisans very often follow in the footsteps of their ancestors with different modern touches.

In some of the different museums, you can enjoy great examples of ceramics. The Larco Museum and the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology, and History are some good examples. But after reviewing the great examples of our heritage, you can go to some markets in Cusco. There you will find numerous special modern examples to give away.


peruvian art craft textiles

Textiles are a vital part of Peruvian art and culture. For thousands of years, different communities have produced a great variety of exquisite textiles. And each town has its distinctive patterns and designs. All of them are highly symbolic and have been passed down from generation to generation. Alpaca, sheep, and llama wool are used to produce these textiles. Natural plant-based dyes are then used to give them their distinctive colors. Some popular tours within Peru offer visits to weaving communities. There you will be able to witness the process that these fabrics entail. In addition, you can learn about the rich culture and artisan tradition of the master weavers. To experience some holidays in Peru, be sure to get some beautiful textiles for your home.


In conclusion, Peruvian art is composed of many beautiful and unparalleled things. And nothing better than being able to experience it on your own. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you learn more about our art by visiting Peru. Machu Travel Peru hopes to have been helpful. If you want to know more about our different tours in Peru, you can consult with our qualified advisers. They will be happy to show you those tours that explore the art in Peru. 

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!