Twice a year is an event we look forward to, Ruraq Maki: Hecho a Mano, one of the only juried craft shows in all of Peru. One edition appears during Fiestas Patrias, the celebration around July 28, Peru’s national holiday. The other edition comes up this month in the lead up to Christmas. At this moment, Ruraq Maki is scheduled to take place in person, Dec. 10-19, 2021, and I am planning a visit.
[The photo at the top of this post is from Catacaos in northern Peru, an example of extravagant metalwork.]
Held in the building that houses the Ministry of Culture in Lima, the event brings together craftspeople from all over the country, and there is competition for the space allotted to each region. We have seen spectacular weavings there, creative pottery including some of my favorite colonial reproduction style pieces, lots of woodwork, alpaca knits, basketry, and metalwork in both sheet metal and silver. Visiting this display is one of my favorite activities.
[The objects above all come from the Ayacucho, one region among several.]
We have purchased simple clay dishes to use around the kitchen, tin work that hangs here and there, and colorful weavings. Though some of our other artwork comes from trips we took to the various source communities, it is the quality of work that can be found at the Ruraq Maki event and that distinguishes it from a lot of the tourist arts and crafts that can be found everywhere in Peru. Ruraq Maki has been so successful that it now takes place simultaneously in cities all around Peru (Puno, Ayacucho, Huancayo, Trujillo, Iquitos). This gives people who live in these centers an opportunity to see the best handicrafts available without having to travel to Lima. I imagine it also gives vendors who cannot make the trip to Lima (age, children, family) a chance to show their wares and make some sales.
This year there are also online sales from Ruraq Maki: https://tiendasvirtuales.ruraqmaki.pe/
If you happen to be in Lima this month, there are other wonderful Peruvian treasures to be seen. The Museo Pedro de Osma, in the Barranco suburb of Lima, has an exhibit of colonial silver work that looks to be quite impressive and shows off a newly renovated gallery. The museum consists of a mansion originally constructed as the summer home of the Osma family, and retains much of its nineteenth century grandeur. The collections include a family collection and materials loaned by other Peruvian families.
Since you will be in Barranco to visit the museum, it is very much worthwhile to walk inland a block and stroll Av. Paseo Saenz Pena parallel to the coast until you reach Dedalo (at #295). This is arguably the best gallery/craft showroom in Peru, with a range of objects made all over the country, and clever as well as creative items in every medium imaginable. There is now a cafe and a food shop associated with the gallery, making it an excellent place to browse and then have a rest stop and a bit to eat.
Should you lack the time to go from your hotel in Miraflores all the way to Barranco (It’s very close), you can still visit the holiday handicrafts market being held in Parque Kennedy in Miraflores. Sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism, this year the sale is divided into six regions that correspond to regions of Peru, each featuring objects from the region, a mini-tour of Peruvian products. There is no shortage of hand made goods, as the supply chain goes from farm and field to maker to seller. I look forward to seeing what is new and what is better than ever.
[The weaving is a contemporary hanging with imagery taken from ancient Nazca pottery. The plate in the upper left is from Cajamarca.]