Chinchero is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists on their way to Machu Picchu each year. Its extensive ruins, native market, 17th century church, and especially its beautiful and picturesque weaving center, make it a memorable and important stop. (It was also memorialized in the film, Motorcycle Diaries.) Anyone passing through will be struck by the women in their vivid traditional costume, women spinning yarn in the streets and markets, and women weaving on traditional backstrap looms. The discerning visitor will wonder about the origins of the traditional dress – almost like a uniform – and about the rich variety of symbols and motifs woven into each and every textile – no two alike.
It’s rare for a cultural tradition to be documented with great authority and detail by someone from within the culture itself. Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez is a native daughter who has found her way into the larger world, recognized the importance of her peoples’ traditions, and has returned to create a deep and sensitive record for visitors, scholars, future historians, and for the people themselves.
Hundreds of full-color photos and fascinating vintage photos show the weavers at work, from shearing wool to dyeing and spinning to weaving. Pattern motifs representing flora, fauna, geographical features, farm tools, and more are cataloged and explained. The role of special textiles in the rituals and festivals of the community is documented. The evolution of weaving over four generations is told in the voices of the Elders of Chinchero.
Bi-lingual text (Spanish and English).