Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Presented at Textile Society of America 11th Biennial Symposium: Textiles as Cultural Expressions, September 4-7, 2008, Honolulu, Hawai'i. Copyright © 2008 Elena Phipps


Garments used throughout the Southern Andean region from the early Pre-Columbian era to at least the time of the Spanish arrival in the sixteenth century, traditionally were constructed of single or multiple webs of rectangular four-selvaged cloth sometimes folded and seamed, but never cut to shape. As a result, the drape and style of most garments retained the rigid outlines of their originally constructed rectangular format. Sometime during the Late Intermediate Period, along the far south coast of Peru and northern Chile, a different garment style developed. It featured a wide, curving shoulder, tapered sides, and bulging lower edges, and was woven to shape by utilizing unusual technical features. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has in its collection, an exceptional example of this type of garment. It features designs woven with discontinuous warps, as well as warp-patterning, and is an unique example among the corpus.

The paper will present the garment, focusing on its technical features to address the interesting questions regarding how these complex shaped garments may have been made and why Andean weavers from this region went to such extreme lengths to create them.