alpakita produccion

 

inca weaver



Inca textile art is amongst the oldest traditions of the Andes, which became one of the most developed during the Inca heyday, thanks to the variety and utilization of different materials and techniques – a result of the diverse cultures emerging from the conquests of other ethnic Andeans. Because of this, the Incas were able to manufacture a wide variety of clothing and other items for day to day use.
The Incas inherited their Andean textile tradition and culture mainly from the Wari, who had achieved a high standard in the arts of colors and iconography, manifested primarily in the manufacture of carpets and blankets.

The basic raw material for clothing was obtained from llamas, alpacas and vicunas; the latter two having a very fine wool. They were sheared every two years and each camelidae could provide up to 3Kgs.

andes weavers

 






The Inca textile tradition, to this day continues to develop throughout the various villages of the Andes. Since colonization each has acquired very different characteristics according to their methods of production. The fabrics are all hand-made and in many cases natural dyes are used to color the wool. The traditional garment, par excellence, for men is the poncho and for women the lliclla (woman’s mantle). The other main products produced are, blankets, bags, belts, shawls, caps, shorts, ropes, sentillos, watan and bracelets.

 

alpacas in the puna 1

The alpaca

Domesticated in Peru by the ancient Incas, the alpaca is a camelidae with one of the finest wools in the world. Its natural habitat is the great heights of the South American Andes over 3,500 meters above sea-level. Related to the llama and the vicuna, the alpaca is similar in appearance, rather like a small camel without a hump and with larger ears. It is smaller than the llama and has longer and smoother wool; it is not used as a beast of burden. The Andean peasants exploited the alpaca, not only for its wool, but for its flesh which is said to be a very healthy and cholesterol-free meat.



Traditionally, indigenous blankets and ponchos are made from their wool, but now the range is extended to banquets, pullovers, caps, gloves, shawls, ponchos, socks and coats.

alpacas in the puna 2

There are two types of alpaca, the huacaya and the suri, each distinguished by their different fleeces. The fleece of the huacaya is opaque, curly and spongy, rather like sheep’s’ wool, whereas the suri fleece is straight, silky and glossy, similar to the softness of cashmere with the sparkle and luster of silk.

In both types as well as the white ones, there are others, which according to experts number twenty-two different hues and tones. Although alpaca fleece is extraordinarily strong and resilient, its fineness is not compromised, making it an ideal fiber for industrial processing.



The Alpaca hair is three times stronger than that of the sheep and seven times warmer.

The alpaca is smooth and delicate to the touch because of the cell structure of its hair, which is unequalled by other animal fibers.

The finest wool of the alpaca is obtained from the first shearing and is known as “baby alpaca”. It has a natural gloss which gives garments a great look and a very soft feel.

Alpaca wool readily takes dye to any color, whilst maintaining its natural brilliance.



vicuna in the puna

Vicuna, the finest wool.

The vicuna is the smallest, slenderest, most graceful and agile of all South American camelidaes. Its long legs are thin, its shoulders are high and its head is small. Its body is covered with short, very fine and woolly hair, a strand of which has a diameter of between 6 and 10 microns, making it a remarkably smooth and insulating fiber, much more so than the other Andean camelidaes.

Guanaco, the wild llama

The guanaco lives in the cordilleras and plateaus of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Paraguay. Current estimates put the wild population at about 600,000. It has a small head and pointed ears; its neck is long and curved and it has long thin legs.

Llama, the donkey of The Andes

Typical beast of burden, the llama has been domesticated since the time of The Incas; these animals can support a weight of ninety kilograms for twelve consecutive hours.
A very versatile animal, the flesh of the female llama provides a meat of similar taste to that of lamb, where as the wool of both sexes is used for clothing and blankets and can be braided to make ropes. The skin is processed into leather, whilst its fat is used to make candles. Even its bones are used as tools to make fabrics and its dried excrement is used as a fuel.


llama in hatun q'ero


The llama is Peru’s main beast of burden used to transport agricultural produce in both the upper and border regions of the jungle. Because of its versatility the llama is destined to a life of servitude, consumption, sale, barter and ritual.

 

 

 

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