Peruvian textile tradition  Peruvian Textil

The local indigenous communities surrounding the city of Cusco have inherited the ancient art of weaving, along with the skill and dedication it entails. Cloths dating as far back as 5800B.C. have been found most commonly in ancient burial sites in the coastal areas of Peru, where the eldest Peruvian civilizations were located. The exquisite weavings, found in the graves of Paracas, bear witness to the tremendous importance attached to textiles during burial ceremonies. Although overall the weaving tradition was very symbolic and significant to this region, there are three major reasons this art attained such a high degree of excellence:

Firstly, the harsh weather in Peru of the highlands required warm clothing, and even on the coast, some protection was needed against chilly fogs and the cold weather in Peru, especially during June, July and August.

Secondly, the Peruvians were the only Native Americans to possess wool from the llama, alpaca, guanaco and vicuña. Not only this, but they also harvested cotton on the coast, hence having plenty of material to create elaborate weavings.

Finally, in Peru, textiles were highly valued in the Andean society, due to the intense amount of manual labor it took to produce each one of the pieces. The process was so extensive that it has been estimated to take an amount of 7 kilometers (7,655 yards approximately) worth of different colored threads to complete one tunic.  Because of this, in its time, one article of clothing could have been worth more than its equivalent in gold and silver, as each type of clothing was also an indication of a person´s social status. It’s for this reason, that in the Incan Empire the best form of tribute- the most prized – was to be presented with a textile article. Nowadays you can still appreciate some of the original textiles from Peru in any of the museums in Cusco or other cities in Peru.

Peru’s Weaving culture today
Today, Peruvian textiles are woven from sheep, alpaca and llama wool. Once the animal has been sheared, the wool is processed as it always has been, with a drop spindle. In the Southern Andes of Peru most villages have their own weaving iconography. There are thousands of techniques, layouts, styles and practices associated with Peruvian weaving. Pieces vary in color combinations and may also vary in size according to the region. Weavings have always served as items of identification and status. For Peruvian culture, each area has its own designs which may be worn in a distinct fashion, weavings can also be used to mark certain events, for example, the birth of a child is traditionally marked by the weaving of a new textile, just as the death of a loved one may be commemorated in the same way. A woman’s social status is defined by the quality of her weavings. A skilled weaver is seen by her community as capable in other activities.

For the Peruvian Culture, the design of a textile comes from what the weaver perceives of her surroundings and within him or herself. The colors employed may tell the observer how the weaver was feeling. Dark colors might denote sadness or melancholy, while a predominance of bright colors, reflects the happiness she was feeling as he or she wove the piece, making the understanding of the weaving art in Peru another reason to choose it as your travel destination.

In Casa San Blas Boutique Hotel we have also worked to incorporate important aspects of the traditional Peruvian art of weaving into the hotel design. Each one of our rooms has its own Quechua name, associated directly to the handmade textile displayed within it. We have tied the ancient art of weaving to our hotel, to immerse our guests into the Peruvian culture of this visually beautiful and inspiring artistic display, part of what makes your stay with us during your vacations in Cusco even more unique and memorable.

Our rooms and their iconography In Casa San Blas Boutique Hotel each one of our rooms is named after a traditional textile symbol, intended to convey to our guests the spirit and long history of humankind in the Peruvian Andes through art.