THE DANCE OF THE DEVILS
Above the little village of Taray, nestled on the banks of the Vilcanota River in the Sacred Valley of the Incas is the old mill of Urpihuaylla. For several years in the 1970s it was my home.
Every October villagers from the surrounding mountain hamlets descended upon the village of Taray to celebrate the feast of the Virgen del Rosario, participating in the Qhapaq Qolla, a folk dance honouring the virgin with saqras—dancing devils—in a New World version of the Spanish mediaeval fiesta of Moors and Christians, representing a mock battle in which the indians, togged up in masks and 17th Century costumes, conquer the whites and mestizos, true doppelgängers of their ancient foes.
Reflections on an Andean life