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The Bronze Tumi: Peruvian Cultural Artifact Essay

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Updated: Jun 12th, 2020

The ancient tribes and communities present very interesting traditions about the past. For instance, in Peru, there are very many artifacts that represent the culture of the people. The Bronze Tumi is one crucial item in Peru.

The Bronze Tumi measures 10.5” tall and 4.25” wide. The use of bronze in making the idol is evident. In the past, the Inca tribe could also use the silver, gold, and copper. The back of the artifact has a hook for hanging on the wall (Masterson 325). The handle is rectangular in shape. It joins the semicircular blade to the image of the god at the top. The designers used some mosaic patterns to decorate the artifact. They polished it and cut it to size to make it look beautiful.

There are crucial things joined to make up the Bronze Tumi. The deity has a head gear with hands held together at the chest holding something (Baud and Ypeij 250). The dress or robe indicates that perhaps the person in the artifact is a male representation of a god. It has a good amount of polish on it.

The semi-circular blade that was useful to the Inca and pre-Inca cultures in the Peruvian Coastal Region is a dagger (Baud and Ypeij 250). The Tumi god dagger is an ancient tool that was famous for the unique ceremony of the god Sun. There is an Andean story that indicates that the Sun created the three tribes in Peru. The Inca tribe was one of them. It was a requirement of them to worship the god with an important ceremony annually (Bierhorst 285).

They held a Thanksgiving Festival after the potato and maize harvest and had the opportunity to ask for more blessings during the coming season (Thompson and Thompson 360). The community High Priest was the one responsible for offering the annual sacrifice (Bierhorst 285). It was during such time that the Tumi came in handy. The High Priest would use the Tumi for the sacrifice of a black or white Ilama (Strayer 450). He would then pick the internal organs of the animal (Bierhorst 285). He observed them and foretold the future. Afterward, they would burn the animal and its parts to ashes. It was an honor to the god Inti. And hence the celebrations had a name called Inti Raymi celebrations (Rohr 276).

Some myth indicates that there was a king by the name of Naylamp. He founded the kingdom called Llampallec (Thompson and Thompson 360). The myth describes him as having originated from the totemic bird. He built a temple named Chot. His followers offered their sacrifices in the temple using the Tumi (Rohr 276). At his death, he grew wings and flew to the sky (Strayer 450). The Tumi Illimo is the bronze knife with his image on it. The picture on the Bronze Tumi has a head with features of a bird. It also has two wings on his hands. And thus this qualifies the representation of a Birdman on the knife (Masterson 325).

The Paracas also used the Tumi for an operation to relieve the body of psychological conditions, headaches, and cranial fractures (Masterson 325). The culture also allowed them to use the Tumis to perform necessary rituals during burials (Strayer 450).

The Tumi of Illimo is an important national symbol. The government uses it in the tourism sector. People hang it on the wall as a representation of good luck. The Peru government and the people of Peru have associated it with success in life.

Works Cited

Baud, Michiel, and Johanna Louisa Ypeij. Cultural Tourism in Latin America. Boston: Brill, 2009. Print.

Bierhorst, John. The Mythology of South America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.

Masterson, Daniel. The History of Peru. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2009. Print.

Rohr, Ian. Indigenous Celebrations. South Yarra, Victoria: Macmillan Education Australia, 2010. Print.

Strayer, Robert. Ways of the World. Boston, Massachusetts: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. Print.

Thompson, Sue, and Sue Thompson. Holiday Symbols and Customs. Detroit, Michigan: Omnigraphics, 2003. Print.

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