Textile Society of America


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/

doi: 10.32873/unl.dc.tsasp.0127


Copyright © 2020 Maria Smith


When the Spanish arrived in the Andes, they encountered a rich textile production industry. The colonists quickly recognized the economic opportunity that skilled Andean weavers provided to colonists and in 1545 the first colonial obraje (textile mill) was established in Peru (Silva Santisteban 1964: 18). Roughly twenty-five years later Antonio de Oré established the Obraje de San Marcos de Chincheros outside the colonial city of Huamanga. There Indigenous and mestizo weavers produced textiles that were transported to Cusco to enter the global textile market. At the Obraje, forced Spanish techniques and technologies mixed with the Indigenous techniques and technologies that weavers brought with them into the Obraje. Over generations of weaving at the Obaje innovative techniques and technologies emerged as well. The textiles produced at the Obraje were amalgamations of these techniques and technologies, which went on to influence the larger colonial aesthetic. This placed the weavers in an important position of power as they influenced the sensible Colonial experience through their textiles (Ranciere 2010). In 2019 archaeological excavations were undertaken at the workshops and dormitories of the Obraje de San Marcos de Chincheros. The analysis of materials from the 2019 season field excavation provides significant evidence regarding the contributions that Colonial weavers at the Obraje de San Marcos de Chincheros made to the Colonial aesthetic. Weavers at the Obraje de San Marcos de Chincheros contributed to the colonial aesthetic and helped to define the Colonial-era, through their incorporation of Indigenous and European techniques and technologies alongside innovative techniques and technologies within their weavings.