Photo by Christina Adams on Unsplash
Peru is a country that is full of culture. Located in South America, it is home to the Ancient city of Machu Picchu. Listed in the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is an Incan symbol and pride of Peru. Once being the capital of the vast Incan empire. It is set high up in the Andes mountain thousands of miles above sea level. While this city is no longer occupied, the Quechua people still inhabit areas in the Andes mountains. Thousands of miles above sea level temperatures drop below zero, even in the afternoon.
This traditional form of weaving has not been changed since pre-Incan times! The women and children of many rural villages use the fiber of llamas, alpaca and sheep for weaving.
The Quechua people of Peru used the method of weaving to create beautiful clothing to keep warm. Patterns, colors, and symbols determine which area you are from, your wealth and status. Each village has its own unique weaving techniques and styles of clothing. This traditional form of weaving has not been changed since pre-Incan times! The women and children of many rural villages use the fiber of llamas, alpaca and sheep for weaving.
Alpacas, unlike their cousins the llama, are smaller and are primarily used for fiber for weaving. Llamas were primarily used for carrying cargo. A person’s wealth could be measured by the number of alpacas they owned. Alpaca fiber is difficult to use to make garments, it is difficult to dye, it is the softest and finest fiber making it slippery in texture when compared to sheep wool and llama fiber. Yet, it is stronger and warmer than sheep wool and llama fiber. Alpaca fiber has many desirable qualities so products made of that fiber are more valuable than those made of sheep’s wool.
Backstrap weaving is one of the oldest traditions in the world! The indigenous peoples of Peru adapted to their environment, the harsh cold weathers high up in the Andes mountains. With the mountainous terrain they built a citadel like Machu Picchu, a wonder of the world, and created beautiful clothing that is still being enjoyed today.