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Andean craftsmanship

History of Andean craftsmanship

The Andean region, known for its breathtaking landscapes, has a profound cultural textile legacy by indigenous communities. Among the many cultural expressions, the art of Andean weaving stands out as a testament to the rich history, symbolism, and resilience of these communities. The textiles created by these ancient communities were rich in quality, colorful, and stand the test of time. They also often featured realistic and abstract patterns, explosions of light and colors. Back in the days these textiles were very highly valued and sometimes even worth more than silver or gold. 


Textile tradition in de Andean region offers a glimpse into the richness and art of the Andean cosmo-vision. It celebrates a profound respect for ecological balance, envisioning a harmonious world where humans are an integral component of the biosphere. In the cosmo visions of the Andean indigenous peoples, nature is not an external environment but an inseparable part of humanity's essence. It reconnects us with our origins and emphasizes our interconnectedness with nature.

llama standing in andean mountain




In Jujuy, a province in northwest Argentina, as in many other Andean regions - you can still find weavers using traditional techniques and materials that have been passed down through generations. Both natural dyes and cultural symbolism play significant roles in Andean weaving traditions, including those observed in Jujuy. These elements contribute to the distinctiveness and cultural richness of the textiles produced by indigenous communities in the region.


Weavers in Jujuy are using natural materials such as alpaca, llama, or sheep wool. These are kept and taken care of by the community. The wool that comes off these animals are hand spun and naturally dyed with local plants and minerals. The choice of fibers contributes to the texture and appearance of the textiles, and it reflects a commitment to traditional materials.


Natural dyes and cultural symbolism are integral aspects of Andean weaving traditions in Jujuy and beyond. They not only contribute to the aesthetic beauty of the textiles but also serve as a means of cultural expression, preserving the rich heritage of indigenous communities through the language of threads and colors. 




Back in the days Peruvian indigenous communities, as well as other indigenous communities in the Andean region, often weaved important stories in their textiles as a way to remember and tell important stories to the next generation.


The crafts of this region draw inspiration from ancient pre-Inca worldviews. Through their embroideries, they depict the local flora and fauna, offering a window into the rich natural environment. Peruvians today retain strong connections to their Inca roots, perceiving time as circular rather than linear. This vision is beautifully translated into embroideries, such as the spiral design symbolizing the cycle of life. The technique used to make the embroideries, known as "Maquinasca" or sewing machine, is widely practiced in the southern Andean region.

Another great aspect of the Peruvian textile tradition is the abundance of flowers in their designs. Flowers are everywhere in the Andean mountains and have explosions of colors. You can find them on the mountains and they cascade deep into the jungle. Together with the great landscape of Peru, they have inspired many Peruvian textile artisans until today.

woman from peru using traditional embroidery technique
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