The Americas 58.3 (2002) 495-497
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This collection of essays serves as an introduction to the study of the southern Peruvian Andes. Despite its title only two of the 13 essays deal with Apurimac, the rest with Cuzco, and only two can properly be considered historical studies. The book includes essays by a nice mix of authors: a team of Peruvian and Japanese scholars sponsored by the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan, a justifiably high number of Cuzco intellectuals and students, and two respected scholars of the region, Luis Miguel Glave and Cesar Itier. [End Page 495]
The two historical essays are important in that they remind the reader that profound changes and active participation in larger social processes have been part of Andean society for many centuries. Itier's contribution, despite its brevity, gives us an important glimpse into the complexities of linguistic, and with it cultural, change in the southern Peruvian Andes during the second half of the sixteenth and first half of the seventeenth centuries. Glave shows us how local contradictions and larger colonial conflicts were intertwined during the great rebellion of Tupac Amaru II, leading the inhabitants of Tinta, Cuzco to seemingly contradictory behavior during that time of upheaval. Also counting on a historical perspective, the articles by Luis Millones on the Corpus Christi celebration in Cusco and by Hideo Kimura on the relationship between peasant communities and larger units of production shed light on transformation and accommodation of Andean sociocultural practices.
The essays by Manuel Jesús Aparicio and Jorge Flores illustrate the value of studying Cuzco's dominant regional ideologies in order to understand its contemporary culture. Aparicio explains how cuzcología (cuzcology), the systematic study of Cuzco's culture, and cuzqueñismo, the strong feeling of pride of being from Cuzco and belonging to its "unique" culture and history, have developed and become dominant during the twentieth century. In this same line, Flores shows us how the ideology of incanismo or incaísmo, the importance of everything related to the Incas, is very present in what he calls "Andean religiosity" and is dominant in the "collective mentality" of the Cuzco region (p. 126). Particularly interesting is his account of a series of festivals and "raymis" that can be related to and have been modeled after the Inti Raymi, the quintessential Inca ritual re-invented by Cuzco intellectuals in the 1940s.
One of the most ethnographically rich and analytical essays of the book is that by Takahiro Kato on the Cuzco city based cult of the Niño Compadrito, built around the skeleton of a child and which started to become popular around the 1960s. Kato analyzes aspects of the evolution of the image itself and of the dream-based stories narrated among the devotees. These stories tell us about the physical growth of the Niño, his change in taste, and also about "the mentality of those who sustain the cult" (p. 160).
The two ethnographic studies about Apurimac, one on the fiesta of the Señor de las Ánimas by Carlos Flores and the other on the Turupukllay (bullfight with Condor) by Gisele Meza and Gonzalo Valderrama (both university students), without any great pretension, provide engaging accounts of these two types of events. Essays by Tatsuhiko Fujii on Cusco handcrafts, Ricardo Valderrama and Carmen Escalante on oral tradition dealing with water, irrigation and social alliances, Jesús Washington Rozas and María del Carmen Calderón on rituals during the month of August, and Hiroyasu Tomoeda on the aesthetics of pastoralists' rituals complete the book.
Possibly because of its nature as part of a series of ethnological "reports," this somehow eclectic collection contains uneven contributions which are geared more towards giving a general picture than to providing theoretical insight. Nevertheless, [End Page 496] the many essays contain...