The Ayacucho community of Sarhua is now world-famous for its painted boards (tablas), one of the most original examples of what is known as folk painting, a tradition that includes drawings by Spanish chronicler Guamán Poma de Ayala (sixteenth century), watercolors by Bishop Martínez Compañón (sixteenth century), works by Creole painter Pancho Fierro (nineteenth century) and paintings by other anonymous artists who painted murals in provincial churches and chapels from colonial times up until recently.
Sarhua boards are also called quellcas, for their similarity to the ancient drawings that the Incas had made to note down events during their regime. They are colorful illustrations painted on a flat wooden board, portraying the town customs, and accompanied by a written explanation. In the beginning, the tablas were drawn on the roof beams (where family trees were once notched), but today the art form tends to be rectangular or square to make the boards easier to trade.
One of the driving forces who rejuvenated this art form was Carmelón Berrocal (1,964-1,998), who modified the established techniques without losing sight of the original features, creating paintings based on oral traditions that he himself compiled.