Peru’s native Shipibo tribes are known for their strong cultural heritage, unique cosmology and their unmistakable ceramic arts. Unfortunately, Shipibo villagers also suffer from extreme poverty, and most live without access to basic education and medical care in poor villages along the Río Ucayali, a tributary of the Amazon River. Manos Amigas (Friendly Hands) works with the Shipibo villagers to develop their traditional craft and helps export their vases, sculpture and ornaments to the United States and Europe. Manos Amigas also offers free courses in design, accounting and business marketing and helps artisans identify new markets for their crafts.
Manos Amigas donates 20% of its profits to education and other social programs and helps youth living in Peru’s remote highlands continue their education through scholarships and financial assistance. The remaining 80% of the Manos Amigas’ profit goes directly to the artisan, most often as a 50-70% advance with the balance paid upon delivery and quality control. This wage is far above the national standard and helps Shipibo villagers improve their standard of living and provide for the future.
In this exquisite mini nativity scenes, come in gray or pink Huamanga pebbles heightens the beauty of the nativity. the nativity dipicts the Holy Family with the Three Kings, the ox and the donkey inside the manger. the artisan select stones quarried in Huamanga in the central sierra of Peru. Its texture and color are similar to alabaster. These are a natural product some variations in color and/or pattern are to be expected.
Carving stone by hand is a tradition in Peru that dates back thousands of years. The country has a plethora of natural minerals including: granite, basalt, andesite, lake pebbles and a special white alabaster known as Piedra de Huamanga, which can be found in abundance in the mountains surrounding Ayacucho. Although it sounds Spanish, Huamanga is the Incan word from the Quechua language for Alabaster
Carving of Huamanga was popularized in the colonial times because of its resemblance to marble and porcelain, both which were not available in Peru. The soft consistency of the stone permits it to be easily carved, but to its detriment it is also brittle and care must be taken during the carving process or the entire piece can be easily destroyed.
White, rose, and gray Huamanga is mined from quarries in nearby Cangallo. Blocks of stone are first sawn and carved with hand chisels, burins, drills, and other appropriate tools. Later the pieces are detailed and sanded to enhance the beauty of its natural finish.
The early motifs mostly depicted the infant Jesus and other religious imageries such as saints, crosses, and the Virgin Mary. Today, Huamanga stone is widely seen in nativities and scenes that depict the local culture.