Pan flutes in Pre-Columbian Peruvian Cultures
Recently, I had the chance to travel to Nazca. Nazca is a city in the Southern region of Peru. It is popular around the world because of its geoglyphs or commonly known as “Nazca Lines.” The main tourist attraction is the Nazca lines, which are ancient geoglyphs made in the middle of the desert by the pre-Hispanic Nazca culture.
These are some pictures that I took when taking an air tour of the Nazca geoglyphs through the desert of Nazca:
Nazca representation of the Peruvian Condor (large bird that inhabits the highlands of Peru)
Nazca representation of the monkey. Symbol of water in the Nazca cosmogony.
Nazca is a beautiful city that also has an amazing sunny weather. I took a city tour that took me to see the architecture of the ancient Nazca culture and the enigmatic and popular geoglyphs. The last stop of the city tour was a ceramic workshop with Mr. Andrés Calle Flores. Mr. Calle is a Regional Ceramic Master who dedicates his life to educate people about the techniques, materials, and uses of the ceramics in ancient Peruvian cultures such as the Nazcas, Paracas, and Waris.
When I stepped into his workshop, Mr. Calle was giving a group of high-school children a workshop of working with clay. He was patiently responding to their questions and making them work the clay while teaching them about the life of the Nazca culture. Mr. Calle offers a quick workshop about ceramics, and he teaches tourists and visitors in detail how the Nazcas were able to create their ceramics. I was able to mold clay under his guidance while he talked about how his father was able to find original ceramic vases from the Nazcas in the deserts and taught him about working with clay.
While talking to Mr. Calle, I saw a broken artifact in his shelves. It was a broken ceramic panpipe. I asked him about it, and he told me that he found it many years ago near the Nazca ruins. I was surprised when Mr. Calle blew the pipes and they still produced a sound. He told me that the Nazcas had about two hundred different musical instruments made with materials such as clay, bone, wood, llama skin, and others. One row pan flutes such as this one were known as "Antaras" in pre-columbian peruvian cultures (They still call it antaras today in the highlands of Peru)
It was exciting to learn from Mr. Calle that wind instruments were an important part of the religious rituals from the Nazcas. Mr. Calle is very passionate about teaching others about the life of the Nazcas ("his ancestors" as he refers to them). He works making replicas of the ceramics from the Nazcas. All of his replicas where beautifully made and represented the cosmogony of the Nazcas. I acquired one small bird ocarina that, as Mr. Calle explained, was used by the Nazcas when paying tribute to their loved ones (especially in a romantic relationship level). The bird ocarina that I acquired have representations of the hummingbird, which represented fertility to the Nazcas.
This is a video of how it sounds.
My trip to Nazca renewed my love for my culture and my commitment to promoting it to the world. Also, Mr. Calle inspired me with his passion for teaching others with dedication and patience about his ancestors.
This I picture I took with Mr. Calle in his workshop
This is an 18 pipes bamboo pan flute with representations of the Nazca geoglyphs that I designed as a tribute to the Nazca culture from my country, Peru.
You can purchase it on my website in this link:
I want to end this entry inviting you to visit Peru and, very especially, the city of Nazca, in the Ica region. I promise you that is going to be an unforgettable experience! If you would like information of how to contact Mr. Calle please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org