Hector Guzman Urbano
Ayacucho, Perú

Retablos had their origin during the colonial period as household shrines. Though they are still used for spiritual purposes, such as scenes with saints or the nativity, they also frequently depict secular themes. For example, this retablo shows scenes of people weaving, making hats, and harvesting tunas, the fruit of a type of cactus common in the Andes.

The case is made of wood covered in gesso and then painted. The figures are made of ground stone, mashed potatoes and peach juice. The vibrant paint consists of aniline dyes in a sugar solution. When the paint is dry, the figures are given a coat of shellac. Because of their bright colors and creative depictions of everyday scenes, retablos have become a popular item for sale in the tourist trade. This particular one was made by a member of one of Perú’s most famous retablo family workshops.

The retablo is currently on display at the Grinter Gallery, on the ground floor of Grinter Hall, as part of the exhibition Textile Arts of the Andes. The show will run through September 18, 2003.



UF Home Page UF Home Page
RGP Home | Sponsored Research | Graduate Education | Technology Licensing
Administrative Services | Research Communications | Contact the Webmaster