Music & Ritual: Bridging Material & Living Cultures

Publications of the ICTM Study Group on Music Archaeology, Vol. 1

The Flight of the Sorcerers: Sound, Power and Hallucinogens in Wari Expansion Strategies during the Middle Horizon, Peru (ca. AD 500-900)

Mónica Gudemos

In the Central-Meridional Andes, during the Middle Horizon (AD 500-900), a specialized group of Wari musicians had a specific and important social function within the framework of the religious practices of the elite, not only in rituals of their own society but also in those of other cultures. It can be suggested that these musicians were incorporated as part of the elites. On the basis of iconographic studies and recent archaeological discoveries, we infer that they would have not only assumed musical responsibilities in those practices, but also ritual ones. They could also have been the brujos (sorcerers), who experienced the so-called ecstatic flight of ritual transcendence.

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