These Souvenirs from Peru Reflect the Country's Diversity of Culture and Landscape
Peru is famous throughout the world for the incredible ruins of Machu Picchu, the palatial retreat of the Incan emperors. However, the country has far more to offer - and so does this diverse collection of souvenirs: musical instruments, a calendar, key chains, samponios, a unique chess set and fridge magnets all from Peru. From the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco, to the mysterious Nazcan lines deep in the southern deserts, to the llamas that still serve as "workhorses" of the mountain agriculture, this collection depicts a wide range of Peruvian experiences which can serve to draw up memories of old trips, inspire future journeys or simply open your eyes to the beauty and diversity of this ancient land.
Souvenir Chess Set
This chessboard is designed with the collector in mind: while completely playable, it's real appeal comes from its beautiful designs. Using traditional Andean indigenous designs around the border of the board and in the chessmen themselves, it fuses the artistic spirit of the mountains with a Western game. Like Andean art, this chessboard benefits from symmetry and the contrast between light and darkness - the two central elements of the region's artistic designs since pre-Columbian times. For those looking for a souvenir from Peru, but want something completely different from the norm, this chess set is perfect: as much a conversation piece as a game, it would look perfect on a coffee table.
Handmade Wooden Inka Calendar
The indigenous peoples of the New World were justly famous for their knowledge of astronomy and their precise calendars. While many know of the Mayan Calendar for the fame it gained in 2012, the Inkan calendar is less well-known but just as elegant. Now, you can bring that ancient wisdom home with you in the form of this handmade wooden plate decorated with Incan designs. The calendar takes the form of a circle (unlike our linear calendars), reflecting the importance of cycles - especially agricultural ones - and combines both lunar and solar observation, making it particularly exact. The ancient Incans had twelve months in their year, with a monthly festival, but separated five days out of their monthly cycles for New Year's celebrations, allowing them to have exact 30-day months.
This collection of seven ceramic, one bronze and one wool magnets demonstrates why fridge magnet collecting is such a great hobby: such a wide variety of attractive images can be displayed so easily the center of your kitchen! The first two of these magnets depict scenes from the mountains around Cuzco: one of a pair of Peruvian girls in traditional dress and the other of a llama, the pack animal of the Andes. The next two are from the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, the palace of the Incan Emperors that clings to a mountainside, and laid hidden from the outside world until the 20th century. The ancient mysteries continue with two magents depicting the Nazca Lines, images of animals like the monkey and the spider carved into the desert floor. The final ceramic magnet is of a "tumi," a ceremonial pre-Columbian knife that is today a good luck charm throughout Peru. There is also a lovely bronze magnet depicting three women in traditional dress before one of the mighty Andean peaks, and an absolutely woolen magnet of a little girl playing a samponio flute!
Thimble from Cuzco
Thimble collecting is an old tradition in the world of souvenirs, and this beautiful thimble from Cuzco, Peru's ancient capital, shows why: it is simple, yet elegant, giving a snapshot of a far-away place. This particular thimble shows a remnant of the pre-Columbian walls that Peru is so famous for. The Incans were such skilled stoneworkers that they laid walls made of massive stones that fit together so precisely that today, some five centuries after their empire collapsed, you still cannot fit a knife blade between the stones. In Cuzco, what appear to be Colonial buildings are often in fact built upon pre-Columbian foundations - despite their disdain for Incan culture, even the Spanish recognized master stonework! Now you can bring a little memento of this technical perfection home with you in the form of this thimble.
Musical Instruments: Samponio Flutes
The Andes are renowned for their beautiful flute music which has its roots in pre-Columbian culture, but was revived in the 1970s and today flourishes not as a folkloric museum piece but as a part of contemporary Peruvian culture enjoyed by people from around the globe. While contemporary Andean music uses many instruments - such as drums and guitars - it is the haunting flute melodies that gives it its character. These Samponios, which come in two sizes, are typical of such Pan-style flutes. Whether you want to try your hand at mimicking the Peruvian masters or are simply looking for a beautiful piece as a gift or for your own collection, these samponio flutes are a perfect purchase.
Keychains From Across Peru
Keychains make great souvenirs because of their portability: what better way to show off your favorite journey or remind you of sunnier climes than a keychain from Peru or some other perfect destination? Here at World Wide Gifts, we are offering a number of new Peruvian keychains, including depictions of Machu Picchu in red, green and black, a llama, unique designs in leather of the countryside around Cuzco. The new additions to the catalog also include two durable metal keychains: one depicting a llama in front of a sunburst (the pre-Columbian peoples revered the sun as their principle god), and another striking piece depicting the ruins of Machu Picchu.