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Land of winds > Traditions > Legend | Issue 05. May.-Jun.2011
By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Naymlap, the bird-man
The myth of Naymlap (‘Nano, Ñañlamp, Naylamp) tells that this legendary hero was the first ruler of the Lambayeque civilization who created it in the 8th century AD. This civilization is also referred to as the Sican culture and inhabited what is now the north coast of Peru between about AD 700 and 1300. The Lambayeque were conquered by the Chimu, who for their part would be first ruled by the Inca Empire (around 1450) and later by the Spanish (in 1535).
Martín Farrochumbi, cacique of Túcume (descendant of the Lambayeque rulers) narrated the legend to Miguel Cabello Valboa, a Spanish secular priest and chronicler who published it in 1586 as part of his “Miscelánea Antártica” (Miscelanea Antartic).
The inhabitants of Lambayeque tell that in the old times a great fleet of totora rafts arrived from the north in the coast of Peru led by a great lord called Naymlap.
This man travelled with a large delegation, which followed him as a leader showing their reverence and devotion. The members of this delegation were his wife, Ceterni; forty of his bravest men; the official shell player Pita Zofi, who was in charge of blowing the pututu; Ñinacola, who took care of the portable platform and the throne of Naymlap; Ñinagintue, who took care of drinks; Fonga Sigde, who had to spread dust of mullu shells on the ground where his lord stood; Occhocalo, the cook; Xam Muchec, who made up Naymlap’s face; Ollop-copoc, who bathed, embellished and spread fine essences on him; Llapchiluli, who knitted and embroidered for his lord; and many others.
The fleet disembarked at the mouth of the River Faquisllanga, today’s Caleta de San José. From there they moved inland and walked half a league in search of a good place to settle down. After they had come to the place they were looking for, they built a palace and gave it the name of “Chot”, where the statue of Llampallec (therefore the name “Lambayeque”) was placed in a prominent position. This figure was sculpted in green stone and represented Naymlap himself. They lived peacefully until the Great Naymlap’s death. For fear of other people not understanding the mortality of their ruler, they buried him secretly and said everywhere that, with his prodigious power, Naymlap had turned into a bird and had flew away. And hence, the myth of Naymlap got started.

The legend also tells that not having accepted his lord’s disappearance, his closest acquaintances went in search of him and promised not to come back until they had found him. There were no new of them. Since those who set off to look for Naymlap were the same who had come with him by boat, the land remained populated by those who had been born there, and would be the ones consecutively conquered by Chimu, Inca and Spanish peoples. And eventually one of them narrated this story.

Picture. Tumi (ceremonial knife) representing Naymlap.

Naylamp, in Wikipedia [es].
The myth of Naymlap, in Arqueología del Perú [es].
The legend of Naymlap, in Museo de sitio Túcume [es].
The Sican culture, in Wikipedia.
Miguel Cabello Valboa, in Wikipedia.
Miscelánea Antártica (Miscelanea Antartic, a manuscript by Spanish secular priest Miguel Cabello Valboa), in Wikipedia [es].
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