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Mitos y Leyendas: The Legend of Nencatacoa

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  • Genny de Bernardo shares with you the legend of Nencatacoa.
  • It is about a being that comes from the Muisca people.
  • Art is a principal characteristic of this deity.

In the world of the Muisca people, the legend of Nencatacoa was told, the guardian of weavers of blankets and painters, as well as the patron of intoxicating celebrations.

He was depicted as a creature of the forest, molded in figures of gold and wrapped in a blanket with the tail waving.

Fray Pedro Simón tells us that Nencatacoa means «fox,» because the shape of this animal was seen repeated in various representations.

This divine being protected the making of textiles, a highly esteemed craft among the Muisca people, who worked with a wide variety of plant fibers, such as cotton and fique.


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Among their textiles, the chircates stood out, square blankets that women wore tied to the waist with a sash called chumbe, while men wore the Líquira, a smaller blanket, fastened to the chest with gold or silver pins adorned with heads.

Women also wore the llilla, a rectangular shawl placed over the head and secured with pins.

Men wore brightly colored cotton skirts, secured with chumbe, which reached the knees for them and the ankles for women.

The cotton blankets were finely woven and decorated with meticulous paintings; artisans used a varied range of colors and liked to adorn them with narrow stripes of maures or red paints.

Guardian of Art

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When the Spaniards arrived, they were amazed by the quality and beauty of these textiles, some of which were gifted to them by the indigenous people.

Nencatacoa was also the protector of painters and artists, who depicted their art on textiles, ceramics, metalwork, sculpture, and petroglyphs.

He was attributed the sponsorship of collective drunkenness, participating in them with dances and chants.

According to tradition, his devotees did not offer sacrifices to him, as they only wished to enjoy joy with others.


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It was believed that he helped in obtaining wood to build large huts and other structures, since on those occasions the indigenous people drank abundantly.

The main drink of the Muisca people was chicha, made from fermented and cooked corn.

This beverage was indispensable in their celebrations, festivities, and collective work, infusing them with joy and energy.

In the myth of Nencatacoa, the custom of drinking chicha was linked to the construction of large huts and temples, as well as to other community works.


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With rhythm and enthusiasm, driven by chicha, the Muisca people tilled the land for planting and transported large stones over long distances, despite their weight.

The indigenous people imitated the drunkenness of Nencatacoa to celebrate the completion of the construction of the chiefs’ enclosures or the completion of a road.

With dances, songs, and chicha, they celebrated the planting and harvesting seasons, as well as the festivities in honor of their gods. Therefore, in their feasts and dances, they always invoked Nencatacoa.

Mitos y Leyendas bids you farewell for the moment and hopes that the legend of Nencatacoa has been to your liking. Until next time!

Mitos y Leyendas
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