In their hands, they have the talent and each of their strokes preserves their identity. The ancestral art of the Shipibo-Konibo community has passed through several generations, has crossed borders and today is one of the most representative cultural expressions of the Peruvian Amazon. In their remarkable pieces, including ceramics, carvings and textiles, they reproduce the cosmovision of their world through geometric figures and a wide variety of colors.
It is a trade of great artistic richness whose designs go through a creative process that includes ayahuasca rituals. Through the consumption of this medicinal plant - native to the Peruvian Amazon - the artists visualize in their minds all kinds of images that they later capture in their final works. Each detail, shape, or color has its own meaning and vision of its culture, which is a source of pride for Peru.
Recognized worldwide, the artistic work of the Shipibo-Konibo is their greatest cultural legacy. It is a tradition that they have been developing for centuries and that is transferred between each generation, being an activity that women learn from a very early age.
The beauty of its ceramics and textiles is mainly in the aesthetics of its designs. The use of geometric figures and the originality of its strokes -known as Kené art- have given rise to authentic pieces that manifest the mysticism and spirituality that surround this culture. This technique puts into practice everything that a Shipiba mother teaches her daughter since she was a child in the art of painting, embroidery and weaving using materials from the forest.
According to tradition, before working on their pieces, the artists drink ayahuasca as part of the visualization and mental creation process of figures in which stars, snakes, squares, rhombuses, and crosses predominate. The sacred colors of the Shipibos are red, yellow, white and black. The first two are associated with the sun, while the latter with the moon.
If you are a ceramic lover, the pieces made by the Shipibos are true works of art. Like her textiles, the designs are representations of her worldview that serve to reaffirm her identity. The curvy design alludes to single young people and the rivers that run through their lands. The one with fine lines symbolizes the ani sheati ritual, a very unique ceremony that celebrates the visit of one community to another.
The origin of an ancient culture
According to historians, the Shipiba community had its beginnings between 800 and 650 BC. C. settling along the banks of the Ucayali River -to the north of the Amazon of Peru-. They were made up of three ethnic groups: the Shipibos, the Konibos and the Shetebos, and their main activities were fishing, hunting, agriculture and crafts. Although it is not known exactly when the union of these communities began, today they live together in harmony and even perform mixed marriages.
Currently, the Shipibo-Konibo make up about 150 small communities located in the regions of Ucayali, Huánuco and Loreto, although they are also known for being nomadic people who live in different areas of Peru. An example of this is the Shipiba community of Cantagallo, established on the banks of the Rímac River, in Lima, the Peruvian capital.