ASUR Museum Of Indigenous Art

ASUR (Anthropologists of the Southern Andes) is an organization which seeks to help communities in the Sucre area maintain and strengthen their cultural integrity, and improve their economic conditions, by promoting the production and sale of high quality indigenous arts and textiles. ASUR works with the Jalq’a and Tarabuco communities as well as a number of other communities in the area.

ASUR museum sucre bolivia

Photo Credit: Julie Kunz

To showcase the work of these groups, ASUR have established a museum in Sucre dedicated to their craft. The museum combines a carefully curated selection of their art with interactive demonstrations of its production.

The Rooms

The museum consists of a reception area and a number of exhibition rooms:

  1. Tinkipaya Room – a collection of textiles by the Tinkipaya people, depicting the heavens (janaq pacha)
  2. Music and Dance Room – this room is a celebration of traditional music and dance, with instruments on display, mannequins in dance poses and dress, and audio and video exhibits.
  3. Jalq’a Room – this room showcases the beautiful, striking weavings of the Jalq’a which depict the chaotic, fantastical world of Supay, their underworld deity.
  4. Ritual Room – here the ritualistic importance of traditional weavings is explored. There is also an ancient stone engraving of a being, from which Supay is thought to have been derived.
  5. Tarabuco Room – the intricate weavings of the Tarabuco people are shown here. These textiles depict detailed scenes of everyday life for the community.
  6. Male Tapestries Room – this room exhibits the works produced as part of an on-going experiment by male weavers to produce new textiles by simultaneously reviving pre-columbian techniques with unique designs of their own creation.
  7. Archeology Room – an exhibit of pre-columbian textiles from 500-2000 years ago.
  8. Tiwanaku Rooms – these 3 rooms are dedicated to a collection of pieces produced in Tiwanaku 1600 years ago. While the climate in the Tiwanaku would have destroyed the pieces long ago, they were found almost perfectly preserved in Pulacayo in Southern Bolivia. It is believed that they were being carried by an ill-fated convoy returning from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, whose mis-fortune led to the pieces being buried in a more favorable climate.

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The Store

ASUR also has a store from where unique textiles and ceramics are sold. The stunning pieces of Indigenous art, including ponchos, wall hangings, leather purses and blankets, are of excellent quality, providing a creative insight into the traditional cultures and local ethnic groups of the region.

And for those interested in seeing how the textiles are made, there is usually an artist in store working away allowing you to witness the ancient weaving techniques for yourself. 

Price and Location

Well organised and catered to different languages, ASUR Museum Of Indigenous Art and is well worth a visit for those interested in learning about the surrounding ethnic groups and their artistic legacy. Entry is Bs. 22 ($4) and the museum can be found in the tranquil La Recoleta zone directly opposite Hotel Kolping.

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