Latinamerica Collection
Shopping And Souvenirs In Peru

Handicrafts

 

• Gold and silver: Colonial and republican style silverware: trays, coffee sets, cutlery, picture frames, etc. Silver items should bear the 925 hallmark. Silver and gold filigree jewelry.

• Wood: Mirrors and frames covered in gold or copper leaf in the colonial style. The mirrors from Cajamarca, decorated with flowers, reminiscent of Venetian art. Painted "Retablos" or triptychs with clay figurines representing religious figures or scenes of native customs enclosed in a rectangular box with two doors. Wooden objects made of Amazon timber (Pterocarpus officinalis Jacq. and olive): salad bowls, cutlery, plates, ashtrays, etc. These are usually available only in Iquitos or at special fairs.

• Plaster: In Cusco, members of the Mendivil family are well-known craftsmen that make artistically stylized figures of the Virgin for nativity scenes and collectors, made of a paste that consists of wheat flour, rice, mashed potatoes, plaster and papier maché.

• Stone: Ayacuho is famous for its carvings in alabaster stone, also known as "Piedra de Huamanga". Peruvian turquoise (chrysocola) is a beautiful dark blue-green colored stone that looks good with silver.

• Gourds: Carving gourds with a hot needle is a very old Peruvian craft. The most famous carved gourds are from Cochas (Huancayo) depicting countryside scenes.

• Pottery: "Toritos de Pucara" are pottery bulls with brown, green and ochre decorations, originally created for magical-religious purposes. Pottery from Quinua (near Ayacucho) includes bulls, painted clay churches, candelabra and whistles.

• Shipibo pottery and textiles from a small town near Pucallpa, decorated with fine geometric figures in black and brown on a cream background.

• Chulucanas pottery (Piura) has become fashionable in recent years.

• Leather: Chairs, carved poufs, saddles, belts, bracelets, purses, bags, etc.

• Wool: (alpaca and lamb). A distinction must be made between traditional handmade handicrafts and those produced with modern industrial manufacturing procedures, in accordance with export standards. Hand knitted items can be of a very good quality. The sizes are usually standard North American or North European sizes. Although some sales people may sound convincing, not all the alpaca pullovers are of "baby alpaca" (fine quality, not prickly and more expensive), even though it may say 100% alpaca on the label. Alpaca wool is usually mixed with lambs' wool, which is not bad as long as the alpaca wool weighs the same or more than the lambs' wool. With regards ancient knitted goods, there are some gorgeous examples, particularly the ponchos in Cusco. There are also some beautiful belts knitted on both sides, the most famous being the Cusco belts with geometric Inca motifs, some of which are real collector's pieces.

• Hammocks: Made of very strong cotton or vegetable fiber from the Amazon. Handbags are also made with the same material.

• Embroidery: The embroidered items from Monsefú (Chiclayo) and Cajamarca are well known.

• Straw hats from Monsefú and Catacaos (Piura)

• Felt and wool hats from Huancayo, Cuzco, Puno.

• Carnival masks, mainly in Puno.

• Bows, arrows and darts from the Amazon region.

• Musical instruments: guitars, mandolins, small guitars known as "charango", Indian flutes, wind pipes, etc.

 

Modern Sector Shopping

Knitted goods, blankets, jackets, fine pullovers, alpaca dresses made for the export market and in much demand internationally, can be bought at much lower prices than in Europe or the United States. Some establishments can quickly make items to order, with European styles. Arequipa is a privileged place in which to buy modern alpaca goods, as that is where the main factories are located. Pima cotton pullovers and t-shirts are also in great demand in international markets.

 

Modern jewelry: Boutiques in the centre of Lima, in San Isidro and in Miraflores, as well as some stalls in the Indian markets, have a varied collection of quality products for the most demanding clients. They come in modern designs as well as replicas and stylish recreations of Peruvian culture.