In Peru, there are stories of the Ukuku. They are trickster bear beings who are born of bear father, and human mother. They possess supernatural strength, and though mostly well intentioned, their unexpected power can catch even themselves by surprise and wreak havoc.
Each year, the Qoyllur Rit‘li festival is a celebration of the stars as the Pleides constellation comes into view in the night sky. Dancers, musicians, and a procession of indigenous people from the region climb high into the mountain, to be touched by the first rays of the Winter Solstice sun.
Climbing even higher, the Ukukus, celebrants who take on the role of the trickster bears, proceed up to the glaciers, and return with blocks of ice to be melted and used for medicinal and healing ceremony. Sadly, with the receding glaciers, this final portion of the festival is no longer performed, and the diminishing ice is left for the glacial heights.
Size: 7 x 7 inches