Toritos de Pucara

Toritos de Pucara

These charming clay figures are Toritos de Pucara, or Pucara Bulls, from the Cusco region of Peru. Hand crafted in clay, they have their origins in the animist religion of the Quechuan people who made totemic llama figures as offerings to the Inca Gods.  Constructed with a small cavity into which animal fats would be placed, they were buried in the hope of a good harvest. Spanish colonists arriving from the 16th century introduced cattle to the region and adopted clay bulls filled with a mixture of liquor and cow’s blood into the ceremonial branding of the herd.

I came across these examples at different times. It is evident that they had different makers but both have the traditional white bodies with green and ochre decoration. The symbolic motifs are also uniform, with a hole near the lower back to hold the liquid. This signifies the spreading of the male seed during the fertilization process. Above this is a small handle forming a bridge to the head, to encourage thoughts of fertility in the mind.  The three collars represent positive, negative and neutral energy and may also represent the Trinity.

The bulls are traditionally given to newlyweds to bring prosperity and encourage fertility. Visitors to the Cusco and Pina regions will see pairs of them on the roofs of most houses. Believed to offer protection and promote harmony, they represent the dual energies of the husband and wife. Arranged alongside a ladder and cross, it is hoped they will aid smooth transition into heaven when the time comes.

Unable to get up on the roof, I have placed this pair at the highest point in my home. I hope that their positive energy will promote harmony in my family. If you have any questions or comments about the bulls why not get in touch via the Contacts page.