Indigenous art

A show of ample and eerie majesty: British Museum’s Peru: A Journey in Time reviewed

Growing up on a farm outside Lima, I was aware that indigenous Peruvians did not understand time in the same way that their white countrymen did. On our visits to the highlands, we would encounter a very different mode of thinking. Ask an Andean villager where the next settlement was and you’d be told, ‘aquisito no más’ — just over here. Whether ‘aquisito’ meant around the next bend or four days’ schlep across the mountains was, for aboriginal people, a meaningless question. They were not ruled, as their European-descended neighbours were, by clocks. You’d sometimes see Quechua-speaking herdsmen sitting motionless for so long that they seemed to have switched off