Peruvian Gifts Feature Distinctive Folk Art

Hand crafted Peruvian gifts echo
the spirit of the Andes. A gift of
Peruvian folk art is a well-chosen gift!

Peru is famous for beautiful handicrafts, which for many Peruvians are their sole source of cash income.

Fair Trade practices are deeply important to Peruvian artists and artisans. Here we offer suggestions for well-designed and well-crafted Fair Trade Peruvian gifts, selected from the Andes collection.

Peru, Machu PicchuWhat a fascinating country, Peru! It's the third largest in South America, with terrain ranging from dry coastal plain, to the awesome Andes mountains and valleys, to tropical forest. No country in the world has a greater number of distinct climates.

Peru has South America's highest percentage of indigenous peoples, whose complex civilization in Peru dates back 5000 years. Ancient Peruvians introduced terraced farming in the mountains, which was perfected by the Incas in the 15th-16th centuries. Inca cities boasted masterful stonework, and their irrigation and extensive road systems are still in use today.

When the Spanish came to stay, they brought great destruction - but they also introduced new language, religious and cultural traditions that find artistic expression in many Peruvian gifts.

Wood and Leather Peruvian Gifts

Peru is a great source for milestone anniversary gifts! You'll find wooden gifts for 5th (traditional) and 6th (modern) anniversaries; and leather gifts for 3rd (traditional) and 10th (modern). For any occasion, your recipients will admire the fine craftsmanship coming from Peru!

  • A cedar serving tray with embossed leather inset is a thoughtful gift for a recipient who loves to entertain.

  • For the bride and groom-to-be, a cedar hope chest covered with magnificently worked leather is an elegant engagement gift.

  • With 8 drawers/compartments, this jewelry box might be large enough for an anniversary couple to share.

  • A handsome leather ottoman does double duty - the padded seat lifts off to reveal a handy storage box. Another great gift for a guy who needs to put up his feet and relax.

  • This artisan's wood and leather furnishings with lovely touches of color will please a 3rd or 10th anniversary couple. Perhaps a magazine rack for the couple to share?

  • For any occasion, a 3-piece set of nesting tables are handsome and useful Peruvian gifts. Made of hand-tooled leather on cedar, the tables feature intricate pre-Inca designs.

  • Consider this unusual leather mirror to grace your special couple's front entry hall. Over thirty customer reviews attest to the artistry of its creator! Here are more leather mirrors.

  • Find more suggestions for Peruvian gifts of wood in "Wood relief panels" and "Collectibles," below.

Peruvian Textiles

Archeologists have found Peruvian textiles dating back 4000 years. The Peruvian womenancient designs have a spiritual dimension that honors the people's connections to Mother Earth (Pachamama) and the natural world. Today, Andean villages still retain their unique weaving techniques and patterns.

Wool (sheep, llama, vicuna, and especially alpaca), and sometimes cotton or a wool-cotton blend, are used to weave Peruvian gifts of clothing, bags and backpacks, household textiles, and tapestries:

  • A soft and luxurious alpaca ruana cloak and scarf, beautiful in warm tan and brown tones - a luxurious gift for a woman.

  • Hand woven table linens from Peru come in colorful patterns. A table runner or a set of placemats or coasters is an attractive and useful housewarming gift. Or, you can please almost any recipient with a pair of cushion covers, perhaps in a geometric Inca pattern.

  • Peruvian gifts of hand loomed tapestries, like this scene called "Crossing the River," capture the flavor of Andean life... a thoughtful gift for a guy. Find more Peruvian tapestries among the "Wall Decor/Tapestries" below.

  • Area rugs from Peru - all are 100% wool with cotton warp, designed for floor use. "Hypnotic Land" features traditional symbols and soft earth colors. More brightly colored Inca motifs highlight this nice long runner. And "Tulips" is a stunning display of color and symmetry.

Jewelry and Accessories from Peru

  • Jewelry - Beginning alphabetically with pretty bracelets, Peruvian jewelry is creatively designed and painstakingly crafted, in styles both traditional and contemporary. Find more jewelry in the drop down menu at the upper left of the page.

    Materials include gemstones, ceramic, silver filigree and even mate gourd. This attractive earrings/pendant set, carved from mate gourd and set in sterling silver, is a beautiful example of Peruvian folk art.

  • Chullo hats with toasty hanging ear flaps, are gaining popularity in the US. Here's a jolly one called "Llamas on Parade," and here are more hats and scarves from Peru.

  • Handbags and Travel Bags are smart and useful Peruvian gifts. Here you'll find leather and suede bags, along with colorful woven wool or combo leather and wool, several backpack styled bags, and leather toiletry cases.

Peruvian Ceramics and Pottery

Peru, pottery
In the historic Inca capital of Cusco (often spelled Cuzco), more than 2500 artisans are producing ceramic Peruvian gifts and keeping alive pre-Hispanic era techniques. In north coastal Peru, the town of Chulucanas is especially famous for its black and white pottery.

  • Three small Cusco vases are pretty as place decorations or arranged in a row down the center of a table runner.

  • A black-and-white Chulucanas vase is a handsome accessory with any color scheme.

  • "Ancient Masks" encircle this beautiful centerpiece bowl. Click on "Larger Picture" to view the inside of the bowl. A smart birthday gift for Mom (...hint, hint!).

  • "The Flower Lady" figurine is an endearing Peruvian gift, with her arms full of calla lilies.

  • A painted ceramic mother and child figurine is just right for a Mothers Day gift.

Peruvian Paintings and Wall Decor


NOVICA offers hundreds of original paintings by Andean artists. Classified by style, beginning with "abstract," you can view other styles in the drop-down menu. Here are a few of our favorite Peruvian gifts on canvas:

  • Entitled "Birthday," this charming painting would also be a perfect Valentine's Day gift or anniversary gift.

  • Inspired by the Moche culture, "Earthenware Jars" depicts a group of masks & jars that provide the deceased with serene companionship (masks) and sustenance (jars) in the afterlife.

  • "Fishing Boats in Ochre" reminds us that Peru has seacoast as well as mountains. The play of light on boats and water is especially appealing in this striking nautical gift from Peru.

Wool tapestries
Peru, tapestries

Peruvian textile artistry is unsurpassed, and NOVICA offers hundreds of beautifully hand woven tapestries and wall hangings. Categories begin with
animal motifs, and you can view others in the drop down menu.

Three suggestions:

  • "Flowers to Harvest," is a colorful gift for gardener by the Cardenas brothers. Their finely detailed work is described by one reviewer as "drop dead gorgeous."

  • You can almost hear the sound of the Andes as these "Three Musicians" play flute and guitar and join in song.

  • As a gift for a child, the "Young Girl from Altiplano" will be like a friendly new companion.


There is such variety in this category of Peruvian gifts that one is sure to please your recipient. Let's begin with "Folk Art," and then move to others in the drop-down menu. For example:

Wood relief panels

Cedar panels from Peru are beautifully hand carved and colored. You'll find scenes of life in the Andes plus an extensive selection of Biblical figures and vignettes that would make very nice religious gifts. We particularly like:

  • "Loving Mother Mary" conveys a sense of warmth and serenity.

  • A walk through this "Highland Town" offers the company of llamas and a view of the mountains.

  • A fanciful gift for a kid, "Children of Peace," shows four delighted children perched on the back of a flying dove.

  • Heading toward the "Andean Flower Market," we can almost smell the fresh air and flowers.

Collectible Gifts from Peru

Peruvian gifts include excellent collectibles. Some are uniquely Peruvian, and all demonstrate the meticulous craftsmanship that you'd expect to find in collectors' items.

Peru, Retablo-closedPeru, Retablo-openA colorful example of Peruvian folk art, retablos are similar to dioramas, with ceramic figures in a brightly painted wooden box. Some portray everyday life in the Andes, while those with religious themes are sometimes used as portable altars.

Retablos often have an upper section representing heaven with religious figures, and a lower section depicting scenes from life on earth. Retablos are thoughtful religious gifts.

  • Gourd Art is an ancient Peruvian folk art, highlighted in the finely etched drawings on the bulgaris or mate gourd. Designs are carved with a tool called a buril and colored in a process much like woodburning. NOVICA offers these and other Peruvian gourd art ranging from masks to maracas, bowls to figurines.

    One World Projects (another Fair Trade merchant) offers stunning gourd boxes, both carved and painted (including a nested set), some with very detailed designs. Great gifts for collectors!

  • Masks are often part of a Peruvian dancer's costume, depicting spiritual figures, legendary heroes, or animals. These copper masks are finely detailed, and the Incan and pre-Incan masks, made of various materials, are bright and colorful. A mask will be an appealing gift for a boy.

  • Nativity scenes and figures are crafted from many different materials - ceramics, wood, stone, silver plate Each of these Peruvian gifts has a distinct personality.

  • Musical Instruments - When we think of Peruvian music, the sweet, haunting tones of the quena flute spring to mind. The zampona, a type of panpipe, is made of various sized cane tubes, each producing a different tone. Both of these Peruvian gifts are hand carved and come with fabric carrying cases. Great gift ideas for a musician - or an aspiring musician!

  • Sculpture and Figurines - Stone sculpture is yet another ancient Peruvian art that is alive and well today. "Great White Cockatoo" is a masterpiece in onyx, serpentine, and other stones.

    NOVICA presents wood sculpture from Peru in cedar and mahogany. "Marinera Dancers" is part of an extensive series called "Folklore" by this very talented artist (view more of his work).

I hope you've enjoyed our virtual shopping trip to Peru! You can have every confidence in the Peruvian gifts offered by NOVICA in association with National Geographic. Every single order I place with them is fulfilled with top-notch customer service.

Peru, Llamas

You'll stir your recipients' imagination
with well-crafted, fair traded, Peruvian gifts!

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Logo photo © Jane M. Sawyer; Retablos © Daniel T. Yara;
Pottery and Peruvian women © Clare Natoli;
Machu Picchu, Tapestries, and Llamas © Nicholas Raymond,
all courtesy of, all rights reserved.