Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu

Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu: Folk Tales and Stories of Inca Life provides an intimate look at the intriguing and environmentally attuned Inca people in the high Andean villages near Machu Picchu and Cusco. In this first-of-a-kind-book the artistic spirit of Andean people comes to life. Published by Thrums Books, Colorado, specialist in fine book design, and a world view of textiles and art (Published by Thrums Books).

Incas StoryThe Inca People are Alive and Thrive Today. Take a Journey for a Close-up Experience

Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu: Folks Tales and Stories of Inca Life, the new book by Elizabeth Conrad VanBuskirk and paintings by Inca artist, Angel Callañaupa Alvarez, vibrantly depicts Andean village life through folk tales, stories and art. Through stories, the book reveals Inca rituals and beliefs about the living earth (Pacha Mama), the majestic mountains worshipped as Apus, the sky and its “black constellations,” the meanings attached to sacred water, the events of nature and ever-changing climate, the stages of life and growth, courage and transformation.
Beyond the Stones is written for both adults and children, introducing an in-depth look into South American Native People, their customs, everyday lives, incidents of change, and profound appreciation and celebration of the natural world. The paintings and stories provide a rare glimpse into Inca peoples’ creative work, especially the famous Andean practice of weaving and other textile arts.

incas book signing

“The primary intent of Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu: Folks Tales and Stories of Inca Life is to introduce readers to a rich culture overlooked in the education of most of us, and to provide new ways of looking at our world. I hope to deepen the experience of the many travelers who visit Machu Picchu and Cusco, by vicariously placing them inside Inca villages to experience life in the high-elevations of the mountains,” says author Elizabeth Conrad VanBuskirk. “I have included authentic and little-known Inca traditions and hope that readers will feel enlightened by tales and stories like The Gift of Quinoa, The Bear Prince, The First Haircutting and respond with delight in Angel’s stunning art.”

The paintings of Angel Callañaupa Alvarez are distinguished by his expansive imagination, delightful humor, sense of space and composition, and story-telling skills. His art shares a wide perspective, vividly illustrating scenes from little-known but time-honored traditions like the annual Pilgrimage to the Ice Mountain — the ceremony of Qoyllu Riti, Star of the Snow, and other events that mark the life of Inca people in the past and today.

Machu Picchu

Elizabeth Conrad VanBuskirk spent many years making frequent trips to Peru and Bolivia to research Andean textiles, especially to observe how the Andean weaving traditions relate to contemporary Inca people’s lives and beliefs. She found herself wanting to spread the word that Inca people are very much alive today, they still make glorious weavings and practice the vital traditions of their ancestors related to the closeness and celebration of the natural world.

“I believe that this book has been much needed in our schools and libraries. When I give Inca school presentations for children, teachers ask if I know of a book of stories for children,” continued Conrad VanBuskirk. “Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu: Folk Tales and Stories of Inca Life fills this need, and can also be used for family and group read-alouds. Often, the Inca world comes as a fresh new experience to most children, and I am passionate about working with teachers and educators to come up with creative ways to introduce these cultures into school curriculums and library programs.” As an educator, VanBuskirk has given lectures and presentations about Inca art and culture throughout the United States at universities, museums, libraries and other venues where she shows examples of Inca weavings and other Inca items of interest.

An author’s journal