Hacienda Overseer’s Whip with Brass Dog Head Handle: Acial

During the time of the haciendas, overseers carried aciales (whips) such as this one as instruments of authority and control over indigenous peasants. The polished brass handle is a representation of a menacing dog, also a symbol of the hacienda as overseers threatened to unleash dogs on indigenous laborers. During the summer festivals of Inti Raymi, in the areas of Otavalo and Cotacachi, indigenous festival dancers known as sanjuanes test their vigor in a ritual battle for the ultimate prize of symbolically taking the town square. As they trot to the music of twin flutes, they wave these leather aciales.

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