One of the greatest attractions of the mystery of fleeting art is the long and patient effort made for a work of beauty that will last for just minutes and possibly seconds. Art forms of this kind include carpets of flower petals and decorated bread called t'anta wawas that can only be appreciated briefly, despite the fact it has taken artists a great deal of time and creativity.
The ancient art of fireworks is deep-rooted in communities in the highlands and along the coast, where artisans have wrought local variations such as images of giant flowers and animals. It is impossible to imagine a festival in honor of a patron saint without a dazzling display of fireworks.
Carpets of Flower Petals.
Put together for big processions both in the highlands and along the coast, vast floral decorations are laid out on the streets of many cities and towns where the procession of the patron saint is to pass. The color of the flowers and the perfection of the motifs, generally saints, shields, maps, landscapes and all sorts of animals put together with great dedication, are aimed at providing a fleeting splendor before being crushed by thousands of marching feet during the processions.
Another technique which is practically an art form is the baking and preparation of t'anta wawas, or decorated breads. The wheatflour breads represent a wide variety of motifs such as children (wawas), families, homes, crowns of flowers and animals. Styles range from impeccable simplicity to decoration that is quite complex. Every year in Lima, a t'anta wawas competition is held on All Saints Day. The departments of Junín, Arequipa, Cusco and Huancavelica (Center and South of Peru) generally prepare the best prizewinners.
Candles and Giant Wax Candles.
Wax art is another art form that is directly linked to religious worship. Cusco, Ayacucho, Ancash, Arequipa and Lima produce vast numbers of candles and decorated cirios, giant wax candles with religious motifs. During the Easter Week procession in Ayacucho, the litters used to carry the saints have their base richly decorated with wax figures. The most common motifs are flowers, leaves, the faces of saints, angels and barnyard animals. But the most common items in festivals all over Peru are candles and cirios, which come in a range of sizes and decorations. During the festival of the Lord of Miracles (Señor de los Milagros), the variety and decoration of the candles is impressive: it is a moving sight to see the cirios candles lit next to the image of the black Christ in the church of Las Nazarenas in downtown Lima.