Molded into the likeness of a cross-legged Runcato, a Shetebo Indian Warrior who led an uprising in the mid-1700s Amazon jungle in the area of Peru, this unique incense burner can accommodate two types of incense: A hole in the top of the figure behind a feathered headdress is perfect for inserting a stick of incense. An indent in front of the base can hold a piece of cone incense. Lightweight and unique. Made in Peru.
Who was Runcato? Around 1740, a series of indigenous rebellions shook up the Peruvian countryside. Famously, Jose Santos Atahualpa began his revolution in 1745 in the mountainous jungles between the Amazon and the Andes and in Tarma. Soon after in 1766, in the very heart of the Amazonian rain forest a Shetebo Indian named Runcato arose to push the Spanish and the Catholic Franciscans from his homeland. Although there is no evidence suggesting that the two rebellions were directly related, it is probable that Runcato would have heard of his predecessor from within the region of Ucayali. Backtracking a step, we know that 5 years before his uprising began, Runcato had already made friendly contact with the Franciscan Order in his region. It was almost universally the case that the original rebels and revolutionaries of the time were found among those members of the indigenous population who were in contact and communication with the Spanish Catholic colonists. Runcato was no exception. Runcato mobilized and unified the Shetebo, Shipibo, and Conibo Indians, three tribes that had previously been in constant conflict with one another. Later, the three tribes were fused into the Shipibo-Conibo of today. It would seem that the rebellion was born out of the deep fears of the Pano (as the three tribes were called collectively) upon the arrival of a great number of missionaries, colonists, and armies to the region. There was an especially strong backlash against the Franciscan missionaries. In the chronicles of the Franciscan Fathers we read that Ignacio Torote, an Ashaninka native and contemporary of Runcato, was about to shoot an arrow at a Franciscan: Then the Father Friar Manuel Bajo in agony, feeling the arrows pass through his body, said to the native chief, Ignacio, why do you kill us? And the chief responded, Because you and your compatriots are killing us every single day with your sermons and doctrines that take from us our freedom. You must realize that we are the fathers now. (Amich, volume 1:131-132) Today Runcato practically goes unrecognized in the history of Peru that is taught in schools and even remains unknown to the modern day Shipibo-Conibo Indians. Even so, he is a hero of a historical movement that he helped to start, a movement to rescue indigenous culture, and in fact indigenous lives -- native demographics of the time were decimated by the introduction of illnesses brought on by the Spanish, and entire tribal groups were enslaved in forced labor programs. It was in such a dark and hopeless moment that Runcato rose up. We hope this simple article serves to help the people of Peru and abroad to acknowledge this mysterious cultural figure, and especially to the native peoples of the Peruvian jungles to remember a hero of their own. Source is based on the books : La merma mágica by Jacques Tournon, 2002; Historia de las Misiones franciscanas en el oriente del Peru by P.Fr. Bernardino Izaguirre, 2001 Translated into English by Robin Van Loon from Camino Verde.