Ecuador’s pre-Columbian people produce excellent pottery, painting, sculpture, and gold and silver work. The Spaniards trained indigenous artists to produce colonial religious art, which can be seen in many churches and museums. The Quito School of the 17th and 18th centuries combined these two influences, but was replaced by formalism after independence, which favoured subjects such as heroes of the revolution and members of the high society.
Ecuador’s colonial religious architecture is predominantly baroque, although domestic architecture tends to be simple and elegant, comprising whitewashed verandahed houses built around a central courtyard. Traditional Andean music has a distinctive haunting sound and is based on an unusual pentatonic scale. Wind and percussion instruments, including the bamboo panpipe and bamboo flutes, are used. Local crafts include fine examples of basketwork, leatherwork, woodcarving, weaving, ceramics and jewellery.
Ecuadorian food consists of soup and stews, corn pancakes, rice, eggs and vegetables. Seafood is particularly good, even in the highlands. Local specialities/curiosities include caldo de patas (soup made from cattle hooves), cuy (whole roasted guinea pigs), Arroz con menestra y carna asada (Rice with beans and meat) and puerco (suckling pig).