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History Of The Textile Art In Peru
       
             
             
   
The production of fine textiles has been a continuing facet of Andean cultures for the last three millennia and continues to play an important role in Andean societies today. Clothing that many indigenous peoples wear can identify their town of origin. The social status of the wearer, along with gender, age, wealth, power and ethnicity is reflected in colors, fabrics and designs.
       
             
   
       
   
Peasant artisan from Cuzco, Peru
       
             
   
Historical Context
       
             
   
"The ancients pondered over the doubt as to whether this Continent in which we live (Europe, Asia and Africa) was the only one in the world, or whether there was another like it. St. Ephrem and those of his opinion maintained that across the sea lay the Continent of Paradise"
Antonio de Leon Pinelo, 1650.

       
           
   
Burial mantle. Paracas (400 - 100 BC)
       
   
The cultural diversity of today's Peru is the result of historical vicissitudes, overlapping cultures, population movements and the establishment of states and empires. However, all these factors were conditioned by the country's rich ecological layers (coast, mountains, jungle) and their integration and, accordingly, by its variety and abundance of natural resources.
       
 
   
 
             
   
When the Spaniards informed the Old World of the existence of these territories, the images that were progressively shaped alluded to a Paradise. If it had ever existed anywhere on the planet, it was Peru. These dreams and ideals were further enhanced by the reality of fabulous wealth following the discovery and exploitation of the Potosi mines. Indeed, such was the development and economic dependence of the Spanish monarchy on Peru that the post of Viceroy was considered the peak of the career and prestige of nobles and senior officials.
       
             
   
However, the cultural and, therefore, artistic development that took place during the vice regal period would not have been possible without the existence of a powerful pre-Hispanic cultural tradition. What is more, its originality and aesthetic interest stems precisely from this syncretism, a factor that is increasingly appreciated and leaves its mark on artistic manifestations.

Indeed, the advent and establishment of the or of New Castile did not signify a break with the past. Although Castilian Spanish became the administrative language, Quechua continued to be the lingua franca as it was during the and only over the centuries did Spanish become a widespread means of communication. This respect for native languages has led to their survival to this day. And the same is true of other significant aspects of earlier cultures. Cities such as Cuzco were transformed but preserved their importance. Others were newly founded (Lima, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Trujillo) but based on Inca communication systems which were adapted with infrastructures more in keeping with the new circumstances.
       
             
   
       
   
Burial mantle. Paracas (400 - 100 BC)
       
             
   
As for artistic expression, owing to the high standards achieved in ceramics, textiles, metalwork and woodcarving, among other crafts, the only adaptations involved incorporating new iconographic themes. Inca keros began to display European decorative motifs, but preserved their form. The same occurred in ceramics, in which only a few technological innovations such as potters' wheels and glazing were introduced. In metalwork, it is difficult to improve on the detail and quality of the lost-wax casts and hammer work employed to make neck- lace beads, tupus or brooches and complete outfits that were known during the vice regal period and have risen in estimation with the archaeological discoveries, the most important being the s, which illustrate the full range of possibilities of precious metalwork. It is scarcely fifteen years since they were unearthed (1987) by archeologist WaIter Alva and even less since their contents were placed on display, as the in Lambayeque was opened in 2002.
       
             
   
       
   
Burial mantle. Paracas (400 - 100 BC)
       
             
   
In the field of textiles, despite the technical limitations of the waist looms, the aesthetic achievements are no less impressive. Owing to the dry climate of the territory where the developed, sufficient textiles survive to this day (made from camelid hair or cotton) for us not to be mistaken in our positive judgments. The craftsmen who worked with wood, a medium that is more difficult to preserve, familiarized European sculptors with new species and, above all, techniques involving the use of maguey pulp, which was the basis of altarpieces, reliefs and woodcarvings.
       
             
   
Finally, the Eucharist, an essential form of worship since the Council of Trent, developed into an artistic manifestation in its own right through the gleaming gold and silver monstrances that reached their culmination in the Corpus Christi processions. Such images restored to popular imagery the cult of the sun and, ultimately, converted all Peru's societies into cultures of the sun. From the so called at the dawn of history to enlightened 18th - Century Lima, the sun king and his symbology provided a link between periods, whose overlapping gave rise to a syncretic, diverse and original culture.
       
             
    The Textile Art in the Ancient Peru        
             
   
Peru fabrics have few equivalents owing to the way they are made. In addition to their quality, those of the and are perfectly preserved to this day thanks to the extremely dry climate.

Their social function was very important, as they were used as garments, as home comforts, in bartering, and in offerings and burials to shroud the bodies of the deceased.
       
             
   
       
   
Indigenous dyes used in Peru today
       
             
   
Some mantles display a chequered design; indeed, textile designers shied away from large compositions that could only be appreciated when the fabric was spread out. This mantle, with a central dark blue background and red borders with polychrome fringes, has as its central motif an anthropomorphic figure wearing face paint or a mask and with a serpent emerging from its mouth. The figure wears a headband and headdress, a short-sleeved shirt or unku, a short skirt and a belt from the back of which protrudes an animal in the form of a serpent. The geometric pattern gives us an idea of what the whole of the item is like at a glance and also evidences the technical limitations of the frame on which it was woven, which only allowed right-angled shapes to be made.
       
             
   
       
             
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