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Peru

Rugs And Antique Textile Collection from Peru

The Rich History of Rugs and Textiles from Peru – Deep in the Andes Mountains are communities that have carried on their traditional crafts for a millennium. The people live in communities surrounding Cusco and still speak their native Quechua tongue. They have been virtually untouched by tourism and represent one of the oldest traditional cultures in the world. They still produce splendidly happy colorful rugs and tapestries that tell the story of their culture and offer a connection to the land that gives them sustenance.

Ancient Techniques and Traditions from Peru

Weaving traditions in Peru developed differently than in many other parts of the world. Many of the textiles are woven in a back strap loom, or belt loom, rather than on a standing upright loom. In this style of weaving, the piece to be woven is attached to a stationary object, such as a tree, on one end and attached to a belt that goes around the weaver’s back on the other. The weaver controls the tension of the warp by moving their body backwards or forwards.

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Unlike the knotting techniques used to make Oriental carpets and Persian rugs, the carpets and textiles from Peru made by passing a shuttle through the warp, changing which threads are up or down (the shed) and then beating down the weft. Patterns are made by picking up different sets of threads with each pass.

The process begins by spinning processed wool into yarn. The wool can be from sheep, llamas or alpacas. The dyes and colors are produced using locally available plants and minerals. The skilled hands of the weaver move quickly to pick up the threads to be used in each pass of the pattern. Even with years of practice, it still takes the weavers months to create one carpet or blanket.

Tribal Traditions in Peru

Textiles are an important part of Peruvian village culture and each village has its own unique colors and patterns that come through in their work. Unlike weaving traditions in Persia and Turkey, Peruvian weavers were traditionally all men. However, more recently, textile production has been practiced by both men and women weavers.

Peruvian communities use their brightly colored clothing to identify each other and their community affiliation. For instance, the Chumbivilcas produce textiles with brightly colored embroidered flowers. Peruvian textiles are often finished with a border that is sewn on after the piece is complete. This border finishes the work, and each one has a pattern that identifies the community from which the piece came.

The people of the individual villages view themselves as very different from one another and are proud of their home communities. They are a colorful and diverse people, and these qualities are what comes through most in their artwork as well as the rugs and carpets that they produce. Even though the communities are located only a few hundred miles from each other, their weaving techniques, patterns, traditional dress and lifestyle are quite different from each other.

The uniqueness of local traditions and techniques is one of the characteristics that makes textiles and rugs from Peru special in the world of collectible woven artifacts. Unlike the weaving traditions of the great empires of the Near East, such as Persia, the Ottomans and China, the Peruvian weavers were never subjected to standardization of the pieces that they produce. Each one is a reflection of techniques that go back farther than written history and have developed through years of relative isolation from the rest of the world.

Styles and Patterns Of Rugs and Textiles From Peru

The styles, patterns and color combinations used in Peruvian textiles are as vibrant and unique as the people themselves. The colors of the individual villages are largely determined by the mineral and vegetable dyes that are available. Peruvian designs are brightly colored and often feature bands of shifting colors and color gradients. These may be interspersed with geometric and floral patterns.

The colors are often cheerful and reflect a people with a deep love of the land and love for each other. The colors will make you smile, and the patterns are often whimsical with a folk art character. They range from stripes of alternating solid and patterned bands to pictorials that feature the animals and plants surrounding them. Some of the most special ones are those that give the outside world a glimpse into the daily life of the village.

We are fortunate to occasionally be able to offer rare pieces dating back to the early 16th century, which is a time when the Spanish began transforming the people and the landscape in a way that would alter it forever. Peru is home to some of the most ancient civilizations in the world, but these pieces only became accessible to the rest of the world by way of the Spanish Conquistadors.

Each one of these antique pieces is rare because very few survived, and few actually made it out of Peru. Every antique textile from Peru is like a glimpse into an ancient culture.

Be sure to look around at the ones that we have in our collection. You will fall in love with the colors, unique subjects, and you know that you are truly looking at a world treasure that will have a special place in any collection.

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View our selection of antique and vintage textiles and tapestries from Peru:

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