The Yine people are mainly located in the departments of Cusco, Loreto, Madre de Dios and Ucayali. They are also known as Piro by neighboring towns. In their language, which belongs to the Arawak linguistic family, Yine means “real men”, “being human”, or “people par excellence”. From a national consensus by the Ministry of Culture, there are about 2,680 people who stated they speak the Yine language, of the three geographical varieties in this language: Yine Manu Haxene, Mantxineri, and Mascho Piro. Mantxineri is the most in danger of disappearing. Again completed by the Ministry of Culture, the population of communities of the Yine people is estimated at 8,871 people.

Fishing and hunting are subsistence activities that are associated with rituals. For example, the hunter will paint his face and body with natural dyes and might consume a mixture to “come together” with the animals they are to hunt. Painting their bodies is an ancestral custom and the pigment comes from the genipa tree or huito. In Yine mythology, the huito is an important aspect in that it explains the origin of the Yine village.


We work with the Indigenous led association “Mashko Yine”, supporting the artistic crafts of the Yine community of Monte Salvado.

The president of the association, Emily, is from the Monte Salvado village and her vision is to support the art of Yine women and pass down those techniques. In March 2021, an exhibition of her individual work was featured at our gallery.


There are 31 Yine designs, each with a particular meaning which are passed down orally from elders. The iconography of the designs are mainly based on animals according to their physical attributes. A commonly used representation is the back of the boa known as “mantona."


There are 31 designs of the Yine peoples and each design varies with a particular meaning, which can have a different meaning in another town or community. These designs are also a continuation of their traditional body art. The iconography of these designs are mainly based on animals according to their physical qualities. Common representations are: tiger footprints, bones of deer and peccaries, frogs, turtles, jaguars, and tiger skin and spots.

The main colors used in Yine textiles are:

  • Red, which represents human and animal blood, is related to war and hunting in times of conflict.
  • Black, which represents death.
  • White, which represents peace and tranquility at a time when there are no wars or confrontation.
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