Date of this Version
Published in Hidden Stories/Human Lives: Proceedings of the Textile Society of America 17th Biennial Symposium, October 15-17, 2020. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/tsaconf/
The haku is a shawl indispensable for depicting the lives of women and men in several districts of the department of Hunuco, in north central Peru. It is used daily in rural tasks and domestic life, and it shines during public festivals as a clear representation of local identity. The skill of the spinners in achieving an exceptionally fine yarn makes the serene beauty of these handsome cloths of a single, even color stand out. Almost transparent, the four-selvage cloth is woven on a backstrap loom of native cotton or of sheep’s wool diverse in hue. The mark of the presence of Spanish obrajes in this region can be observed in tools and practices which, however, do not discard older technological traditions based in ancestral logics. The long history of textile production in the Andes still poses interesting questions. We look more closely to discern aspects of technological knowledge and design. In addition, we examine the significance of practices and functions of contemporary rituality, which provide rich information regarding the modification of socio-cultural contexts.
Today, the weaving community is experiencing new demands which give a new life to the mantle, symbolizing their identity to an outside consumer. This contributes to both spiritual and material satisfaction, confirming the space of their cultural values as a fundamental resource.