LUGARES MAGAZINE Nro. 46
Page. 46 - 47
Text and Pictures: Julia Caprara
THE MUSEUM OF THE PACHAMAMA
Amaicha means "downhill". Indian roots are as strong as the earth on this hill tucked away in the north of the province. The Pachamama (Mother Earth) is venerated here as an everlasting prayer, and for this reason is now honoured with a museum. Located some 164 km from the capital of Tucumán and over 2,000 metres over sea level, Amaicha lies on the boundary of the desert, surrounded by arid rocky peaks. A sign in the village assures " 365 sunny days a year".
Of the 2,000 inhabitants spread throughout the mountains surrounding Amaicha, some are shepherds and others are dedicated to producing the local patero wine, alfajores pastries, cheese, handicrafts or weave alpaca and vicuña wool. Each year during Carnival, the people pay homage to the Pachamama praying for a good harvest, the entire population fills the streets during three full days of festivities.
The most renowned neighbour is Héctor Cruz, considered the father of the Calchaquí art-craft. Of Indian descent, Cruz masterfully works pottery, sculptures and paintings, and designs tapestries. In 1992 he started his project of the Quilmes Ruins, the most important Pre-Columbian fortress and temple in the country. There he built a hotel and museum with the aim of reconstructing the history of the region. Not far from the ruins he has now erected the Pachamama Complex with the same motive.
The museum has four rooms featuring geology, ethnology, tapestries and paintings. Objects of Indian adoration: the Moon, the Sun, the Pachamama, are represented in the courtyard in a monumental way. A master artisan and artist, Cruz has unveiled the scared mysteries of a lost race.