Traditonally, the chakana (cruz cuadrada meaning square cross in Spanish) represents the Southern Cross constellation which the ancient Andeans believed to be the center of the universe and was easily distinguished while gazing upon the night sky. It held great significance to the Incas and has numerous meanings in its design. Its three dimensional levels are said to represent the three worlds, which in Quechuan, the ancient Andean language, were called: Janan Pacha - Representing the Upper World/Above/Universe; Kay Pacha - Representing the Middle World /Here & Now/Mother Earth; Ukju Pacha - Representing the Lower World/Inner Realms/Other World. Interestingly, these three worlds seem to correspond with the Holy Trinity; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit seen in Christianity, as well as the Body/Mind/Soul (Spirit) idea seen in Eastern Religions. The Inca's had three spirit animals they felt symbolized the three worlds; the condor, puma or jaguar, and the serpent. Symbols honoring spirit animals are found in many of the ancient sites and structures in the Andes. In fact, the city of Cusco, Peru was built in the shape of a puma. In addition to the Three Worlds, there are twelve steps that surround the chakana. Each of the twelve steps is said to represent a level of initiation and an attainment of consciousness. The chakana can also represent within its design the four directions, North, South, East & West, as well as the four elements, Earth, Air, Water & Fire.
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Edwin Herrera, Cusco Peru
Edwin Herrera Salinas, lives in Cusco, Peru with his wife Nilda, and daughter, Camila. Carrying on in the family tradition, Edwin was schooled on styles and techniques of jewelry making by his parents. Over the last ten years, Edwin became enthralled with the pre-Incan Moche Lambayeque cultures of Northern Coastal Peru and captures some of their legends and symbols in his jewelry. Originally interested in painting, Edwin dabbled in the techniques and the beautifully transparent palette of water colors which have carried over into his work as a jewelry maker.
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