this article we will go into depth and explain how these breath
taking textiles come into being. Continue reading to learn about this
ancient tradition of Peruvian art.
a sacred tradition passed down throughout the ages for
least ten thousand years. While the very first textiles were actually
made out of cotton, as the technology and practice advanced the
Andean people began including wool from the Alpaca and llama.
Fact: Did you know that some of the ancient Andea tribes used quilted
armour to protect themselves in battle? The quilts were so thick and
finely woven they were equal in strength to European armour!
these traditional communities it is often the role of the women and
children to take care of their flocks of sheep, llamas, or even
alpacas. Once a year the villagers shear their flock and collect the
wool which is then used to make their beautiful textiles.
you Know?: That the fleece from an alpaca is consider MORE
rare than silk?
thousands of years the people of the Andes have passed on their
knowledge of color dying using natural materials found in nature.
Today textiles are often a mix of both natural and synthetic fibres
combining old and new traditions.
for varying periods, the yarn is dyed according to the natural
materials used and the colour desired. Ingredients, like salt or
urine are used to create multiple shades and colours, alter hues, or
intensify colour saturation. After the yarns have dried, they are
re-spun and made into balls of yarn. Materials and colors that are
used depend on the region and personal preference of the dyers and
you Know?: Textile arts were extremely labor intensive and required
extraordinary skill. A single tunic might be made from 6 to 9 miles
of different colored thread.
short breakdown of colors and their ingredients:
Cochineal – A bug
typically found on cactuses in the Sacred Valley of Peru
Ch'illca – A green plant
with white flowers
A combination of Cochineal
and Urine or Lemon
Tara – A bean like pod
and Iron Sulphate
Harvest from the natural
brown fur of alcapas and llamas
Combination of Tara and
blue Copa (a form of iron sulphate)
Qolle Flowers – Found in
a small tree made in the region
Black & White
Shorn from naturally
Quick Fact: During the time of the Incan Empire textiles were considered more valuable than gold! The Incas people offered textiles as tributes to their gods or to important officials.
the colorful fabrics together the native people use traditional looms
to create beautiful & intricate patterns. For over a thousand
years the Incan and Andean people tried and perfected this skill.
Often it takes several years until one is fulled versed in the art. These
complex Peruvian textiles are made with a primitive backstrap loom,
or on the basic frame loom. Using simple looms, made of little more
than sticks, the wool is woven by hand into complex and beautiful
an elegant tool in its simplicity, effectiveness, and portability.
The loom is made up of nine core parts, with a certain amount of
variation in the make-up of the loom, depending on region and the
needs of the specific project.
four-post loom, is a form of a horizontal loom in which four stakes
or posts are hammered into the ground into a rectangular arrangement.
designs of the textiles are ancient and go back countless years to
old traditions and faith. Colors, patterns and especially symbols all
hold significant meaning and not simply decorative. The patterns
created look amazing but there is so much more to them then just
simple design. The styles and patterns woven tell a complex and
beautiful story often connected to nature, a feeling or can even tell
a story! Each weaver has a different personality and this will often
express itself inside the work that she does. Flowers, animals and
even people are all woven into these intricate textiles and as time
progresses weavers have begun to add their own interpretations and
designs into the the fabric.
you know?: That weavers can sometimes make tiny variations in their
patterns or symbols as to convey humor or sadness! Often woven
animals or symbols come from the imaginations of the weaver.
Beautiful, authentic, hand woven textiles that will be made into anything from scarves to shawls to shoes. Amazing how these textiles represent thousands of years of tradition, culture, knowledge and history. - Inkkas