Aymards are the earliest known inhabitants of the mountain valleys of South-eastern Peru and Northwestern Bolivia, now to be found principally in the Peruvian province of Puno and the Bolivian provinces of La Paz and Oruro. Though distinct in language, they physically resemble the Indians of the great Quichuan or Inca family, who were indebted to them for a part of their religious rites and the knowledge of the arts. They worked skilfully in gold and silver, tilled the ground, built splendid edifices ornamented with sculpture and painting, and were somewhat versed in astronomy. Their poetry and religion were spiritualistic, their priests were :bound to celibacy, and the dead were held in religious veneration. They have embraced Christianity, and are zealous observers of all the rites of the Roman Catholic faith, introducing, however, some relics of paganism. The Aymards probably number 200,000 at the present day. In early .times they worshipped the sun, and believed the present luminary to be the fifth, and. that, after a long period of darkness, it emerged from the sacred island in Lake Titicaca. Their tombs, sometimes large square buildings. with a single opening through which the body was introduced, contained twelve bodies placed feet to feet around a cavity, sitting in their clothes. Some of these tombs are small houses of sunburnt bricks; others are square towers of several stories, containing each a body; but whatever be the size, they are always joined in groups, with opening facing the east.

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