The lightning’s children and my own child: notes on twin births and double crowns in the Huarochirí manuscript

Sarah Bennison*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This article explores the related Andean concepts of pallqa (bifurcation) and huaca (sacred animate entity) through considering the meanings attributed to corporeal manifestations of bifurcation. It takes as its central point of reference the under-discussed supplementary chapters of the early colonial Quechua Huarochirí Manuscript of Peru. These chapters describe the significance of twin births and distinctive hair growth patterns (parca, i.e. pallqa) and their ominous interpretations according to the traditions of the Checa ethnic group of San Damián. Drawing on the Andeanist ethnographic literature and my experience of doing fieldwork in San Damián with a double-crowned baby, I offer a contextualized translation of the Aymara term parca. This term is central for understanding the fundamental difference between the sacred and the mundane. In Andean society, those born with physical differences, particularly a parca, are associated with ancestor lightning beings from whom they are said to inherit certain characteristics while in the womb.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-223
JournalIndiana
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Lightning
  • Ontology
  • Bifurcation
  • Body
  • Huarochirí
  • San Damián
  • Peu

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