Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



From Creating Textiles: Makers, Methods, Markets. Proceedings of the Sixth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Inc. New York, NY, September 23–26, 1998 (Earleville, MD: Textile Society of America, Inc., 1999).


Copyright © 1998 by the author(s)


Contemporary Andean weavers are the descendants of a textile heritage dating from the earliest known plant fiver baskets found in the dry Gitarrero Cave in the Central Cordillera Blanca of Peru. carbon-dated 8.600 B.C. Luis Lumvreras. a well-known Peruvian scholar. said about Andean textiles. "Without a doubt. the art and manufacture of textiles constitute one of the most significant achievements of the ancient peoples of Peru."

In this paper. I will present briefly how Quechua cosmology or world view is taught. reinforced and retained through the continued use of traditional Andean textiles. Next. I will show through ethnographic data how the Quechua weavers of the isolated region of Ausangate. Peru. 180 kilometers SE of Cuzco persist in making textiles like their ancestors. In 1996. I did my dissertation field work funded by Fulbright-Hayes in Ausangate. after previous research and work relationships in the area for 12 years. In Ausangate. textiles are an integral part of Quechua life. woven primarily by women on horizontal 4-stake porta vie looms which produce weft-faced cloth with floats using supplemental warp structures. I will then briefly discuss how Quechua weavers near Cuzco deal with modernizing influences on their textiles and two cooperative efforts to aid them in marketing and communication of their textile traditions.