Last updated
Tinku dancers dancing and performing the dance at the Oruro carnival, in Bolivia Bailarinas de tinku 2.jpg
Tinku dancers dancing and performing the dance at the Oruro carnival, in Bolivia

Tinku, a Bolivian Aymara tradition, began as a form of ritualistic combat. In the Quechua language, it means "meeting-encounter". [1] During this ritual, men and women from different communities will meet and begin the festivities by dancing. The women will then form circles and begin chanting while the men proceed to fight each other; eventually the women will join in the fighting as well. Large tinkus are held in Potosí during the first few weeks of May.


The story behind this cultural dance is that long ago, the colonial hacendados set fights between indigenous campesinos for their amusement[ citation needed ]. Pututu trumpets were used by the Indians in order to call for a Tinku encounter, [2] as well as to assemble the peons when the hacendado required of their presence. [2] Tinku dance costumes are colorful and decorative. Women wear a dress, abarcas, and a hat and men wear an undershirt, pants, jacket, sandals (abarcas), and hard helmet like hats. Even though the people were slaves, they loved to dance, and would often fight, but never really hurting each other.

Because of the rhythmic way the men throw their fists at each other, and because they stand in a crouched stance going in circles around each other, a dance was formed. This dance, the Festive Tinku, simulates the traditional combat, bearing a warlike rhythm. [1] The differences between the Andean tradition and the dance are the costumes, the role of women, and the fact that the dancers do not actually fight each other. The Festive Tinku has become a cultural dance for all of Bolivia, although it originated in Potosí. [3]

Tinku combat


The Bolivian tradition began with the indigenous belief in Pachamama, or Mother Nature. The combat is in praise of Pachamama, and any blood shed throughout the fighting is considered a sacrifice, in hopes of a fruitful harvest and fertility. Because of the violent nature of the tradition there have been fatalities, but each death is considered a sacrifice which brings forth life, and a donation to the land that fertilizes it. [4] The brawls are also considered a mean of release of frustration and anger between the separate communities. Tinkus usually last two to three days. [5] During this time, participants will stop every now and then to eat, sleep, or drink.

Methods of combat

During the brawl itself, men will often carry rocks in their hands to have greater force in their punches, or they will just throw them at opponents. Sometimes, especially in the town of Macha in Potosí, where the brawl gets the most violent, men will wrap strips of cloth with shards of glass stuck to them around their fists to cause greater damage. Slingshots and whips are also used, though not as much as hand-to-hand combat. [4] The last day of the fight is considered the most violent and police almost always have to separate the mass of bloody men and women.


Men attend tinkus wearing traditional monteras, or thick helmet-like hats made of thick leather, resembling helmets from the Conquistadors. These helmets are often painted and decorated with feathers. [5] Their pants are usually simple black or white with traditional embroidering near their feet. Often the men wear wide thick belts tied around their waist and stomach for more protection. [1]

Festive Tinku dance

The Festive Tinku, a much more pleasant experience than a ceremonial tinku, has many differences. It has been accepted as a cultural dance in the whole nation of Bolivia. Tinku music has a loud constant drum beat to give it a native warlike feel, while charangos, guitars, and zampoñas (panpipes) play melodies. [4] The dancers perform with combat like movements, following the heavy beat of the drum.


For men, the costumes are more colorful. Their monteras are usually decorated with long colorful feathers. Tinku Suits, or the outfits men wear during Festive Tinku performances, are usually made with bold colors to symbolize power and strength, instead of the neutral colors worn in ceremonial tinkus that help participants blend in. Women wear long embroidered skirts and colorful tops. Their costumes are completed by extravagant hats, painted and decorated with various long and colorful feathers and ribbons. Men and women wear walking sandals so they can move and jump easily. [1]


The dance is performed in a crouching stance, bending at the waist. Arms are thrown out and there are various kicks, while the performers move in circles following the beat of the drum. Every jump from one foot to the next is followed by a hard stomp and a thrown fist to signify the violence from the ceremonial tinku. Many times the dancers will hold basic and traditional instruments in their hands that they will use as they stomp, just to add more noise for a greater effect.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">La Paz</span> Capital of Bolivia

La Paz, officially known as Nuestra Señora de La Paz, is the de facto capital of Bolivia and is the seat of government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. With an estimated 816,044 residents as of 2020, La Paz is the third-most populous city in Bolivia. Its metropolitan area, which is formed by La Paz, El Alto, Achocalla, Viacha, and Mecapaca makes up the second most populous urban area in Bolivia, with a population of 2.2 million, after Santa Cruz de la Sierra with a population of 2.3 million. It is also the capital of the La Paz Department.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oruro</span> City in Oruro Department, Bolivia

Oruro or Uru Uru is a city in Bolivia with a population of 264,683, about halfway between La Paz and Sucre in the Altiplano, approximately 3,709 meters (12,169 ft) above sea level.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National anthem of Bolivia</span> "Bolivianos, el Hado Propicio", adopted in 1851

The national anthem of Bolivia, also known as "Bolivianos, el Hado Propicio" and originally titled the "Canción Patriótica", was adopted in 1851. José Ignacio de Sanjinés, a signer of both the Bolivian Declaration of Independence and the first Bolivian Constitution, wrote the lyrics. The music was composed by an Italian, Leopoldo Benedetto Vincenti.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">China poblana</span> Traditional womens dress of Mexico

China poblana is considered the traditional style of dress of women in Mexico, although in reality it only belonged to some urban zones in the middle and southeast of the country, before its disappearance in the second half of the 19th century. Poblanas are women of Puebla.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cueca</span>

Cueca is a family of musical styles and associated dances from Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia. In Chile, the cueca holds the status of national dance, where it was officially declared as such by the Pinochet dictatorship on September 18, 1979.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tarija</span> City & Municipality in Bolivia

Tarija or San Bernardo de la Frontera de Tarixa is a city in southern Bolivia. Founded in 1574, Tarija is the largest city and capital and municipality within the Tarija Department, with an airport offering regular service to primary Bolivian cities, as well as a regional bus terminal with domestic and international connections. Its climate is semi-arid (BSh) with generally mild temperatures in contrast to the harsh cold of the Altiplano and the year-round humid heat of the Amazon Basin. Tarija has a population of 234,442.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico)</span> Archeological museum in Mexico

The National Museum of Anthropology is a national museum of Mexico. It is the largest and most visited museum in Mexico. Located in the area between Paseo de la Reforma and Mahatma Gandhi Street within Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, the museum contains significant archaeological and anthropological artifacts from Mexico's pre-Columbian heritage, such as the Stone of the Sun and the Aztec Xochipilli statue.

The Morenada is an Andean folk dance whose origins are still under debate. This dance is practiced mainly in Bolivia as well as in Peru and in recent years with Bolivian immigration in Chile, Argentina and other countries.

Javier Parrado is a Bolivian classical composer, whose works have been performed in Europe, and Latin America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diablada</span>

The Diablada, also known as the Danza de los Diablos, is an Andean folk dance performed in the Altiplano region of South America, originals from Bolivia, characterized by performers wearing masks and costumes representing the devil and other characters pre-Columbian theology and mythology. combined with Spanish and Christian elements added during the colonial era. Many scholars have concluded that the dance is descended from the Llama llama dance in honor of the Uru god Tiw, and the Aymaran ritual to the demon Anchanchu, both originating in pre-Columbian Bolivia

Antonio Paredes Candia was a Bolivian writer, folklorist and researcher who wrote over 100 books on Bolivian culture during his lifetime. He is considered an icon of Bolivian culture and identity. His work primarily focused on the country's characters, traditions, customs and superstitions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu</span>

The National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu is a confederation of traditional governing bodies of Quechua-, Aymara- and Uru-speaking highland indigenous communities in the departments of La Paz, Oruro, Potosí, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca and Tarija, Bolivia. Specifically, it represents the following 16 suyus: Jacha Carangas, Jatun Quillacas, Asamajaquis, Charcas Qara Qara, Council of Ayllus of Potosí, Qara Qara Suyu, Sora, Kallawaya, Leco, Larecaja, Colla, Chui, Paca Jake, Ayllus of Cochabamba, Kapaj Omasuyus and Yapacaní. CONAMAQ was founded on March 22, 1997, with the purpose of restoring the self-governance of "original nations" including "collective rights to land and natural resources, re-definition of administrative units and self-determination exercised through indigenous autonomies and direct representation in state institutions." CONAMAQ is a member of the National Coordination for Change, and of the Andean Coordination of Indigenous Organizations. It was a member of the Pact of Unity in Bolivia from its founding until December 2011.

Allentiac (Alyentiyak), also known as Huarpe (Warpe), was one of two known Warpean languages. It was native to Cuyo in Argentina, but was displaced to Chile in the late 16th century. Luis de Valdivia, a Jesuit missionary, wrote a grammar, vocabulary and religious texts. The people became mestizo and lost their language soon after.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bolivians</span> People identified with the country of Bolivia

Bolivians are people identified with the country of Bolivia. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Bolivians, several of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Bolivian.

Sonia Alconini Mujica is a Bolivian anthropologist and archaeologist specializing in the socioeconomic and political development of early states and empires in the Andes. She has studied the dynamics of ancient imperial frontiers, and the ways in which Guarani tropical tribes expanded over these spaces. She has also conducted work in the eastern Bolivian valleys and Lake Titicaca region.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Juan Brèthes</span> Argentine scientist

Juan (Jean) Brèthes, also known as Frère Judulien Marie or Juan Brethes was an Argentine scientist, naturalist, entomologist, ornithologist, zoologist and geologist. He was the first entomologist of the National Museum, today known as the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences. He was a close collaborator of Florentino Ameghino, and translated several of his works into French. Thanks to his intense activity, he systematized a large number of Latin American insect species. He was a precursor in the fight against agricultural pests at a time when insecticides had not been developed to combat them.

The 2020 Bolivian Primera División season, known as the 2020 Copa Tigo season for sponsorship reasons, was the 43rd season of the División Profesional del Fútbol Boliviano, Bolivia's top-flight football league and the third season under División de Fútbol Profesional management. The season started on 21 January 2020 and ended on 31 December 2020. Jorge Wilstermann were the defending champions, having won the 2019 Clausura tournament.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Luis Gallego</span> Bolivian politician (born 1968)

Luis Gallego Condori is a Bolivian lawyer and politician who served as a member of the Chamber of Deputies from Potosí, representing circumscription 39 from 2010 to 2015.

The following is a chronology of notable events from the year 2023 in Bolivia.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2010-11-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. 1 2 Rojo, Hugo Boero (1975). El Valle del Cuarto Menguante (in Spanish). Editorial Los Amigos del Libro. El pututu había sido por siglos el medio de comunicación más fácil, más rápido, más directo entre los indios. Servía para agrupar a los colonos cuando los necesitaba el patrón; para llamar al tinku — el duelo venido desde el comienzo mismo de la raza; — para que todos los que escuchasen pusieran el oído atento para ubicar dónde estaba el que lo hacía sonar; para que los indios supieran que había un muerto en la comunidad; para anunciar la guerra o, como en este caso único en su memoria para brindar alegría a rostros tristes, plenos de angustia; para hacer esbozar un rasgo de risa a bocas acostumbradas a contener la ira.
  3. "The Politics of Folk Dances | norient.com". norient.com. Retrieved 2023-07-03.
  4. 1 2 3 "IN ENGLISH - TINKU: Información alternativa e independiente, América Latina". Archived from the original on 2009-11-19. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  5. 1 2 Bolivia by Andrew Dean Nystrom and Morgan Konn pg. 233


Group Tinkus Cochabamba (dead link removed)