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Photography by Ernesto Bazan
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The condor and the Bull tradition in Cotabambas, Peru
The Condor

For many years Cotabambas, a tiny village of 1300 hundred souls, has been the stage for what is called toro pujllay (bull games), the bull fight that takes place during the two days following Independence Day, July 28. The setting is a grassy village square that is turned into an arena by blocking off the entrances with three trunks. No bulls are killed during the bullfights; instead, toreros show their bravery by closely engaging the animals with their ponchos, jackets, or homemade capes.

These bulls can be quite wild, since they usually range free in the mountains. Prizes such as sheep and beer encourage the toreros to take risks. The climatic event, however, consists of tying the captive condor by its feet onto the back of a bull. Crazed by the flutter of the wings and the bird's attempts to bite its back, the bull rages for two or three minutes, jumping impressively round the arena to enthusiastic applause. The following day, the condor is released back to the skies.

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