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Inca girl mummy named Saphi in Bolivian ritual

La Paz, Aug 9 (EFE).- An Inca girl mummy was officially named Saphi on Monday during an Andean sutiyaqi, or naming ritual, in Bolivia.

The ceremony took place at the National Museum of Archeology in La Paz and was led by President Luis Arce and Vice President David Choquehuanca during the commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

“It is going to be called Saphi,” Choquehuanca said in his speech, in which he also said that her repatriation two years ago from the United States was “very important” for the return of artifacts to their rigthful place.

The girl is linked to the funerary towers, known as chullpas, that were built for notable people in pre-Columbian times in the Andean region.

The data provided by the Ministry of Cultures established that the Inca girl belonged to the Aymara nobility of Señorío Pacajes, located in the department of La Paz, and lived in the 15th century, arriving in the US around 1890.

The remains of Saphi were found in the warehouses of Michigan State University by a professor who later contacted the Bolivian government to return the girl to her place of origin. The repatriation took place on Aug. 6, 2019.

At the naming ritual of Saphi, which in Aymara and Quechua languages mean root, the country’s president was appointed godfather.

An offering was made to Pachamama, or Mother Earth, that consisted of the preparation of a kind of firewood altar on which some offerings such as llama fetuses, coca leaves, as well as wine, alcohol and other elements were placed, before it was set alight.

This ritual was led by Aymara priests or sages who recited prayers while burning incense and playing wind instruments.

The central moment occurred when Arce and Choquehuanca unveiled the Inca girl along with all the funeral instruments that were found in her chullpa. EFE


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