THE ANDEAN WORLD OF WEAVINGS
The textiles in Peru are part of all the civilizations that settled throughout the Andean region. It always has been linked with human been who developed the Peruvian cultures.
Actually, from all the cultural expressions, the weaving process combined and joined several weavers, who had skills, techniques of observation and practice. These features make the Peruvian textiles the most valuable and outstanding treasure from the Andean world, and this blog will explain you more about that ancient process.
By the way, Natourandes boasts an exclusive 5-day itinerary in Peru (Incas weaver’s route) that takes you through the Peruvian highlands in search of traditional towns where people still use Andean dying and weaving techniques.
DEVELOPMENT OF INCA TEXTILES IN PERU
Within Inca’s period, the textiles were used mainly to establish and maintain good relationships with other civilizations. Therefore, since ancient times there were many different qualities of textiles in Peru.
Furthermore, the Inca culture began to build large centers for dying and weaving the wool of llamas and alpacas (you can appreciate this process through our incas weaver’s route). Even, the chroniclers from those times have written about the existence of Andean textiles that included colorful feathers of birds from the pure rainforest.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ANDEAN WEAVING
1.- Social function:
The weaving process integrated all social classes, because it was a popular activity, especially for women. Also, the weavers occupied a special status owing to that knowledge for producing the Peruvian textiles was not open for common people.
Although, the work was obligatory, weaving became a way of life, an opportunity to exchange ideas and socialize. Andean women did not stop weaving, even when they stopped to rest for a while: because they kept spinning or twisting the threads.
We can still appreciate this behavior when we visit the Andean towns along the trail of the incas weaver’s route.
2.- Political, economic and ideological function:
- In the political field, the Peruvian textiles were used for exchange and as gifts for the military or conquered people.
- In the economic field, it gave work and kept the people organized in work strata.
- In the ideological field, it was an article used in religious ceremonies with the Andean priest’s costumes, in festivals, in burials and in any activity that marked the Inca society.
WHY WAS WEAVING SO IMPORTANT?
Because when the first hunter-gatherer people became sedentary, the settlements were initially composed by fishermen. Therefore, the fibers (cottom) were used to make nets and for clothing throughout the coast in Peru.
Meanwhile, within the Andean highlands, people took advantage of the Andean camelids such as the llama, alpaca and vicuña (already in the process of domestication) to produce weavings for clothing.
Later, the man from the coast meets the man from the highlands, and fibers are exchanged. In this context, the iconic Peruvian textiles as we know it today emerged: cotton warp for its rigidity and wool weft for its flexibility and adherence to color on an easy way, became an excellent combination.
The textile production in ancient Peru was basically a socio-economic process that involved more than one member of each family in its different processes. They were men, women, animals and vegetable products such as cotton and feathers used for the construction of looms, spindles, smooths, etc.
As the famous poet Pablo Neruda said, pre-Hispanic weaving touched everyone and was immersed in the Andean world before the conquest.
HOW CAN I GET IN TOUCH WITH THE TEXTILES IN PERU?
The best way to know more about the ancient weaving and dying techniques is spending 5 days in cusco and book our incas weaver’s route. Which is a itinerary of 5 days in Peru, visiting millenary towns where you still can appreciate authentic Andean weavers on the way to Machupicchu.