Although the body of literature in Quechua is not as sizable as its historical and present-day prominence would suggest, it is nevertheless not negligible.

As in the case of the Mesoamerican civilizations, there are a number of surviving Andean documents in the local language that were written down in Latin characters after the European conquest, but which express to a great extent the culture of pre-conquest times. The Quechua literature of this type is somewhat scantier, but nevertheless significant. It includes the so-called Huarochiri manuscript (1598), describing the mythology and religion of the valley of Huarochirí, as well as Quechua poems quoted within the Spanish-language texts of some chronicles dealing with the pre-conquest period. There are a number of anonymous or signed Quechua dramas dating from the post-conquest period (starting from the 17th century), some of which deal with the Inca era, while most are on religious topics and of European inspiration. The most famous of these dramas are Ollanta and the plays describing the death of Atahualpa. For example, Juan de Espinosa Medrano wrote several dramas in the language. Poems in Quechua were also composed during the colonial period.

Dramas and poems continued to be written in the 19th and especially in 20th centuries as well; in addition, in the 20th century and more recently, more prose has been published. While some of that literature consists of original compositions (poems and dramas), the bulk of 20th century Quechua literature consists of traditional folk stories and oral narratives. Johnny Payne has translated two sets of Quechua oral short stories, one into Spanish and the other into English.

Many Andean musicians write and sing in their native languages, including Quechua and Aymara. Notable musical groups are Los Kjarkas, Kala Marka, J’acha Mallku, Savia Andina, Wayna Picchu, Wara and many others.


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