The Ayacucho region of Peru is noted for producing artistic hand-formed folk art, typically in the form of houses and churches, made by local artisans. Ayacucho is known for its 33 churches, so they are a popular subject. The clay is low-fired, so the structures are fairly fragile and hard to import.

Though not necessarily a typical “dollhouse,” this structure depicts a traditional village scene in Peru–with everything from musicians to street vendors, and even a nativity scene. There are 33 figures including baby Jesus with Joseph and Mary, along with six animals and one bird. Vegetation includes cacti and a tree. Each figure and every part of the structure were hand painted.

Stretching over the structure is a blue “sky” with holes cut for stars and moons. A light bulb is suspended through a hole in the top to light the scene at night. The combination of traditional Peruvian culture and the later introduction of Christianity are often woven together in these structures, which are said to bring good luck to the owner–hence the name.

Exhibit added: June 1, 2016 - Last modified: April 24, 2024

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship