:: CARVED GOURDS
The legenaria bulgaris gourd, known as mate in Peru, is the basis of the fine art of the mate burilado. The oldest carved gourds date back 3,500 years and were found in the Huaca Prieta temple (Chicama Valley) on Peru’s north coast. In more recent times, this practice has boomed in the town of Huanta near Ayacucho, where artisans made the mates huantas.
This gourds stand out for the vitality of the thick but steady lines, which etch scenes of everyday life in the Andes. Another variation is that of miniature drawings, which can only be appreciated with a magnifying glass. The technique involves etching fine lines into the gourd with a scalpel called a buril, creating a series of drawings that generally represent active scenes of farming life.
Today, the central Andean department of Junin and specifically the districts of Cochas Chico and Cochas Grande are the main production centers of mates burilados.