Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in The Social Fabric: Deep Local to Pan Global; Proceedings of the Textile Society of America 16th Biennial Symposium. Presented at Vancouver, BC, Canada; September 19 – 23, 2018. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/tsaconf/

doi 10.32873/unl.dc.tsasp.0063


Copyright © 2018 by the author or authors.


This article examines the use of hue in textiles woven during the twentieth century in Isluga, a bilingual Aymara/Spanish-speaking community of herders of llamas, alpacas and sheep in the highlands of northern Chile. It pays tribute to the weaving skills of Natividad Castro Challapa and other weavers of her generation, born early in the twentieth century. Aniline dyes were already known to them but, in the course of their lives, they witnessed increasing amounts of industrially manufactured, pre-dyed acrylic yarns arriving in the community. The article explores how weavers incorporated these brightly hued yarns in their textiles to form accents of colour alongside undyed yarns spun from alpaca and llama fibre. Taking into account the environmental context of ambient lightness and darkness, it addresses the forms of contrast the weavers used, based on principles of extension, saturation, complementarity and simultaneity. This study of Natividad Castro Challapa’s weaving career provides a rare opportunity to demonstrate how local concepts concerning the use of hues have undergone historical change with the arrival of global resources in an ethnographic context that otherwise provides the researcher with little documentary evidence.