Cabanas and Collaguas

October 24th, 2006

The Cabanas and Collaguas are, or rather were, two distinct ethnic groups in the Colca area. Before Spanish conquest and intervention it was not permitted for the two groups to intermarry. The two groups distinguished themselves by creating different head deformations, one group had tall and thin skulls and one had fat and long skulls. They did this by tying two pieces of wood to the babies head until the affects were irreversible.

The Spanish found this practice grotesque and banned it. From then the people were forced to mark their differences with dress – you can now recognise who is cabana and who is collagua by their hats and not by the shape of their head. The two groups now allow intermarriage, and a children resulting from the marriage are cabana or collagua depending on what their mother is. View the pictures and read the captions to see who is who.

Another interesting fact you would have seen in the Chivay post is that the collagua men’s dance costume consists of a long skirt and a hat that covers the face. This was so the fathers of the girls would not notice their daughters were dancing with young men and not other girls.

Have a look at these photos for some of the differences in dress…

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