Textile Society of America



Wynne Minkes

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 Wynne Minkes


Central in this presentation will be a trapezoidal shaped tunic and loincloth from the site La Cruz, Osmore Valley, in the extreme south of Peru. Their specific features allowed their identification to the Chiribaya culture, a poorly known culture from the Later Intermediate Period (950-1350 AD). The tunic's form was the result of inserting discontinuous warps, whereas the loincloth's shape had been achieved by varying the length of the warps on the loom. Reconstruction of both techniques was made possible by Minkes ethnographic studies in adjacent Aymara and Quechua highland communities (2000), where weaving is still considered the most important identity marker. Both specimens were part of Minkes PhD research of archaeological textiles from four sites in the Osmore valley (1998-2005). Examination of fibers, structures, forms, functions, decorations, and quality scores of all funerary textiles and their contextual data, showed the potential of textile evidence in the controversy on the origin of Chiribaya people : Despite borrowing material, techniques and decorations from the expansive Tiwanaku culture from the Bolivian highlands, the textiles' details tell a story of a continuous line with archaic, maritime ancestors.