Textile Traditions of the Andes

Maya Stanfield-Mazzi

in Latin American Studies

ISBN: 9780199766581
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:
Textile Traditions of the Andes

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  • Regional and Area Studies
  • History of the Americas


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The Andean region boasts one of the world’s oldest, most continuous, and best-preserved textile traditions. Andean weavers are credited with independently inventing nearly every nonmechanized textile technique known today, and they quickly adopted new techniques (such as knitting) after coming into contact with Europeans and Asians. Cotton was domesticated in the third millennium bce in the coastal valleys of Peru, and the wool of camelids such as alpacas and llamas was utilized in the highlands from an early date. Due to the fact that many ancient textiles were buried in tombs or as offerings along the dry coasts of Peru and Ecuador and in the deserts of Chile, many ancient specimens are remarkably well preserved. Scholars are thus able to trace techniques and motifs over thousands of years. Artisanal textile production still flourishes in the Andes today, with many weavers creating cloth for their families and, increasingly, for an international tourist market.

Article.  9882 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies ; History of the Americas

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