Friday, 12 August 2011

Chiclayo (continued)

We arrive back in Chiclayo around 7ish (pm), wave farewell as we are dropped off at our hotels.  I head back to Moche Tours office to organise my bus tickets to Piura and Guayaquil, Ecuador (and my first border crossing).  Another wonderful day, filled with new friends and adventures.

The next morning, after organising my accommodation in Guayaquil in Ecuador, I head out to visit the markets to buy freshly squeezed orange juice, shop for fruit and pan (bread rolls) for my trip to Piura.  I head to Moche Tours for my bus tickets and then with advice from Anfondso, I head to another market to try (the said) best Cerviche in Peru.  Cerviche is a traditional dish of small cutlets of fish marinated in lemon juice topped with onions and aji (garlic) is especially delicious due to the extremely fresh seafood caught daily.  It is delicious and tastes very fresh, served with a chilli based sauce (use very sparingly), a yuka fritta (similar to potato) and small salad.  Luckily there was no nasty comeback later that night!  I walk back to the hotel close to 11am, finish packing and head to the bus station for the six hour bus trip to Piura.

A sideline - El Purgatorio
Túcume is also the site of a major Peruvian myth – “El Purgatorio”, or Purgatory that tells of the Spanish forcing indigenous groups to convert to Catholicism during the conquest.  Due to local resistance and strong indigenous religious ties, the Spanish were quickly frustrated with the difficulties of converting the community.  As a result, they made up the story saying that the Túcume hill was actually purgatory.  Just to make sure locals understood, several Spanish built a huge bonfire at the base of the hill, which made the entire area look like an erupting volcano.  As a result, it was easy to convince the town that people who did not believe in the Catholic faith would be readily thrown into ‘purgatory” at the bottom of the hill.

Civilisation Timeline (for those who would like some extra reading)
The Moche (100BC to 700AD)
The Moche are one of the most renowned pre-Hispanic cultures in Peru.  Recent discoveries have been have enabled researchers to launch a series of hypotheses that ultimately gave new light on the lifestyle, socio-political organisation and development of the Moche as a culture.  The remains, that this culture has left us, are truly unique, unheard of for a culture of this time period. The Moche culture developed between 100BC and 700AD on the North coast, with its principal location in Moche Valley (Trujillo). 

Lambayeque (700 AD to 1350 AD)
The Lambayeque culture developed between 700 AD and 1350 AD.  They lived in the north coast, first around the centre of Batan Gande area (900-1000BC) and then later 10 miles south-west of Túcume (1100 to1350 BC).   They went as far north as Piura and south of the Valley Chicama.  Their origins date back to the end of the Moche culture, combined with influences of the Huari and Cajamarca and as a result the Lambayeque created a new ceramic and iconographic style.

The Lambayeque ran a theocratic state with a highly stratified social structure composed of family-based elite with a divine origin, a body of administrators, a group of artisans and farmers.  Although there was some independence between these groups, they had cohesion of delivering a series of rituals and kinship alliances, which was the basis of the power structure.  One example of power and complexity of society within the Lambayeque are the magnificent royal tombs, where they found abundant spondylus and gold.  Another architectural complex contains a truncated pyramid with ramps and murals painted with motifs of birds and marine scenes in relief.

In the mythical religious spectrum, the Lambayeque culture introduced two new elements to the history of Peruvian culture.  The first was a myth where the main character, Naylamp, comes from a distant land across the sea and founded the dynasty that would later become the elite of Lambayeque.  This myth was popular at the time of the Spanish conquest and was picked up by the chronicler Miguel Cabello de Balboa in an impressive detail.  The second element is a winged figure subject of a ritual axe known as Tumi who is the central deity of the Lambayeque culture, and it is believed that this is the very image of Naylamp.  Their representation has some interesting details such as eyes with pointed ends, a prominent nose and pointed ears with large earrings.

The Lambayeque economy was based on intensive agriculture producing irrigated corn and cotton.  In Batan Grande they developed and advanced system of channels that scaled the Reque valleys, Chancay, Lambayeque and La Leche.  There were three main channels: Raca, Rumi and Chancay rivers that linked with La Leche and the Old Taymi, which supplied the northern and southern valley of Milk and Collique Canal, which in turn supplied the Zana Valley.

In the field of art, the Lambayeque culture developed fine metal work.  They were the best exponents of all Hispanic cultures in this area.  This tradition is known in the north coast of the Moche, but has recently been added to the Late Intermediate achievements to show its fullest expression using gold, beach, and alloy, plus arsenical copper.  So many relics have been found so archaeologists have managed to reconstruct almost the entire process to the point of identifying their impressive and complicated techniques.

Chimú (1000 to 1460 AD)
The Chimú culture developed on the north coast around 1000 AD, just after the retreat of the Huari and before 1460, when the Incas arrived.  Recent research has provided new insights about Chimú tradition and ceramic style, as well as about a kingdom called Chimor which ultimately would be the supreme leader of the Chimú culture.  However it is important to clarify that the origin of Chimú and Chimor was not the same, even though they ended up being a political unit.  The Chimor, according to the texts, arose through a mythological founder who arrived by sea on a wooden raft, and brought together the political and religious powers.  Thus the kingdom of Chimor was developed through provinces governed by a local chief who profited from taxes and crops.

During their heyday, the Chimú reached to control about 20 valleys, from the Chillon (north of Lima) to Tumbes in the North just before the Inca conquest.  From 1300 AD they began expanding their territory which at one point covered more than 1000km and led to the need of creating administrative centres to exercise political and religious control.  This centre was the renowned city of Chan-Chan, known for its impressive scope and organisation.  Other important cities included the Túcume complexes (valley of the Milk), Pacatnamú (Rio Jequetepeque) and Farfan (Sierra de La Libertad).

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