Item Records

This page shows all the information we have about this item. Both the institution that physically holds this item, and RRN members have contributed the knowledge on this page. You’re looking at the item record provided by the holding institution. If you scroll further down the page, you’ll see the information from RRN members, and can share your own knowledge too.

The RRN processes the information it receives from each institution to make it more readable and easier to search. If you’re doing in-depth research on this item, be sure to take a look at the Data Source tab to see the information exactly as it was provided by the institution.

These records are easy to share because each has a unique web address. You can copy and paste the location from your browser’s address bar into an email, word document, or chat message to share this item with others.

  • Data
  • Data Source

This information was automatically generated from data provided by MOA: University of British Columbia. It has been standardized to aid in finding and grouping information within the RRN. Accuracy and meaning should be verified from the Data Source tab.


Painted house beam. Object is a slice of a tree trunk, covered in white plaster on the front, with the bark left on the back. The part that has been plastered is painted with natural pigments. The beam would be read bottom to top. At the bottom is one of the patron saints; San Juan Bautista. In phrases divided by various patterns, such as flowers and llamas, the beam depicts a range of daily activities such as sowing seeds and weaving. The persons represented are named in writing. At the top of the beam is the sun.

History Of Use

These beams are painted collaboratively for newlyweds, and are an important means of transmitting cultural knowledge to the younger generation. The people of Sarhua traditionally paint the wooden beams of their houses with depictions of family genealogies and religious and social rituals. These beams demonstrate syncretism in that the base shows Catholic saints, while the top of the beam always shows the sun. The inclusion (importance of) the sun relates to the Incan Sun God - Inti, the national patron of the Incan state. These beams often register the act of making the beam for the newlyweds. The beams are handed over to recipients in a ceremony called the "tablapaycuy" (in Quechua).


This is a reproduction of a Sarhua house beam originally made by Canchari and Pomacanchari in November 1957. Venuca Evanan Vivanco is working to build a new Empresa Comunal de Sarhua on her family's land in Delicias, Lima. She hopes to revitalise Sarhuino artistic traditions. This piece (and the others bought from her) were held in Lima for a month following their purchase, because of controversy in the press following the acquisition by MALI (Museo de Arte de Lima) of some original testimonial paintings from Sarhua. The museum was accused of supporting terrorism.

Item History

With an account, you can ask other users a question about this item. Request an Account

With an account, you can submit information about this item and have it visible to all users and institutions on the RRN. Request an Account

Similar Items