Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



From Textiles as Primary Sources: Proceedings of the First Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Minneapolis Institute of Art, September 16-18, 1988


Copyright © 1988 by the author(s).


Quito, Ecuador was a well established colonial urban center by the late sixteenth century. Although dominated by the Spanish ruling elite, indigenous people (male yndios, female yndias} and those of both Spanish and Andean ancestry (mestizos, mestizas} were socially and economically active in Quito. Cloth was a major trade item and prestige good, which circulated widely in Quito society and throughout the Andes. In pre-Hispanic times, Quito was not a major cloth-production center, and most fabric was imported from elsewhere in the Andes. During the colonial period, in addition to Andean textiles, European fabrics, as well those made in the Andes in imitation of European types, became commonly available. The clothing style worn by yndias feature native garment forms made of a wide variety of such imported fabrics, both Andean and European, and occasionally Asian.

in the paper, I discuss textiles worn and used by yndias of Quito around 1600. Specifically, i detail the fabrics listed by thirteen yndias and one mestiza in their testaments recorded between 1588-1609; the documents are located in notarial archives in Quito. This data sheds light on economic, social, and especially gender relations in Quito, where Spanish, tnka, and indigenous pre-lnka cultural patterns Interacted and often conflicted in the volatile mixture that was colonial society.