Victoriano Arizapana Huayhua is a Quechua master rope bridge engineer (Quechua: chakaruwaq), notable for being lead builder of the Q'iswa Chaka (Quechua for "rope bridge") which is the last remaining traditionally built Inca rope bridge and a part of the historical Qhapaq Ñan Inca road network. He is also a teacher and cultural figure, preserving and transmitting to future generations the bridgebuilding techniques passed to him by his ancestors.
Because it is constructed from rope made of grass, the Q'iswa Chaka, which spans the Apurímac River, must be rebuilt by the local community every year. Aside from being the last of its kind, the bridge is significant as an example of the advanced engineering practices of the Inca people which predated European contact. Arizapana leads these efforts, assisted by fellow bridge architect Eleutario Ccallo Tapia, beginning on the second week of June and lasts for three days; over 1,000 people are involved in the construction, including tasks such as performing rituals and making the rope. According to Arizapana, he learned his craft from his grandfather and father, each of whom had been lead bridge builders before they died and each passed the position by birthright on to their son. Similarly, Arizapana has been teaching the skills to his son, and states that it will be his job to keep the bridge after he is gone.
On August 12, 2010, the Q'iswa Chaka was named part of Peru's National Cultural Patrimony, and Arizapana was awarded the title of Personalidad Meritoria de la Cultura Peruana (Meritorious Person of Peruvian Culture) by the Peru Ministry of Culture. In 2013, the "Knowledge, skills and rituals related to the annual renewal of the Q’eswachaka bridge," of which Arizapana is a primary living example, was named to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In January, 2012, Arizapana was the subject of news when it was reported that he had been prevented from boarding a flight from Lima to Cusco because of his traditional dress, and this action was denounced by the Ministry of Culture. In 2015, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival featured the Q'iswa Chaka, and Arizapana, Ccallo, and many of their fellow bridge engineers and builders traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate. As part of the festival, Arizapana's team created an Inca rope bridge on the National Mall using identical construction methods as for the Q'iswa Chaka. After the festival's completion, the finished bridge was donated to the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, with one section going on display as part of the exhibit The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire, and another section planned to be exhibited in the imagiNATIONS Activity Center for children at the museum's George Gustav Heye Center in New York City.
References [ edit ]
- Hernández, Miguel (May 2014). "Tradition and Cohesion: Q'eswachaka Hanging Bridge" (PDF). Chasqui: Peruvian Mail (Cultural Bulletin of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Lima: Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Peru. 12 (22).
- "The Spirit of the Inka Survives in the Q'eswachaka Bridge | Smithsonian Folklife Festival". www.festival.si.edu. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
- "INC pedirá que Virgen del Carmen de Paucartambo sea Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad". www.andina.com.pe (in Spanish). 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
- "Knowledge, skills and rituals related to the annual renewal of the Q'eswachaka bridge". www.unesco.org. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
- Salcedo, José Víctor (2012-01-14). "Por discriminar a poblador quechua denuncian a LAP". larepublica.pe (in Spanish). Retrieved 2015-10-12.
- "Smithsonian Folklife Festival - Participants". www.festival.si.edu. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
- "Peru in 2015 Folklife Festival". www.peru.travel. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
- "Construyen réplica de puente Q'eswachaka en Festival del Folclore de EEUU". www.andina.com.pe (in Spanish). 2015-07-03. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
- Tucker, Abigail (2015-06-22). "A Dozen Indigenous Craftsman From Peru Will Weave Grass into a 60-Foot Suspension Bridge in Washington, D.C." Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2015-10-13.