The Andean world: Ayar and Mama Huaco

Posted on 2014-03-19 / no comments
Mama Huaco

Andean myths tell us yet again of the origin of the Incas through the legend of the Ayar brothers.

As the story goes, the Ayar brothers emerged from Pacaritambo mountain, together with their four sisters, following the great rains that had ravaged the Earth.

These brothers and sisters included Ayar Manco and Mama Ocllo; Ayar Cachi and Mama Cora; Ayar Uchu and Mama Rahua; and finally, Ayar Auca and Mama Huaco. Together, they began to search for fertile land.

On this long voyage that lasted several years, the brothers were eliminated one after the other.  The first to disappear was Ayar Cachi, as a result of fear generated by his magical powers.  With a single shot from his bow he could demolish mountains or create ravines. He was tricked into returning to Pacaritambo where he remained trapped for ever.  Later on, Ayar Uchu was transformed into Huanacauri Mountain, a rock formation that became a divinity.  Finally, Ayar Auca, when exploring a fertile area, grew wings and flew to a place known as the field of the Sun, where, upon landing, he was transformed into a stone.

Ayar Manco was the only brother that arrived in the valley of Cusco. After sinking the Golden walking stick into the earth, a astick given to him by the god Inti, he was called Manco Cápac. However, the story of chronicler Sarmiento de Gamboa (1943) reveals that one of the women in the group, Mama Huaco, was the person entrusted with carrying out this mission.  Further, Mama Huaco is mentioned as the captain of her own army and one of the four leaders that took possession of what would become Cusco.

The word “huaco”, in aymara, means “whom is not intimidated by cold or work and who is free”. Mama Huaco was extremely strong: one impressive feat described by some chroniclers was that during a time of imperial expansion, this woman wounded and later killed someone, terrorizing those who lived in the area, leaving the region in the hands of the Incas

This is the story of the woman who played role in how the Incan Empire was founded.

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