Tapestry made in Andes Peru


For the Incas finely worked and highly decorative textiles came to symbolize both wealth and status,

Fine cloth could be used as both a tax and currency, and very best textiles became amongst the most prized of all possessions. As a result, when the Spanish arrived  in the early 16th century. It was textiles and not metal goods which were given in welcome to these visitors from another world. Thanks to the dryness of the Andean enviroment, many textiles examples from highland and mountains sites.


It seems that both men and women created textiles, but it was a skill women of all classes were expected

To be accomplished at. The principal equipment was the backstrap loom for smaller pieces and either the

Horizontal single-heddle loom or vertical loom with four poles for larger pieces, such as as rugs and blankets. Spinning was done with a drop spindle, typically in ceramic or wood. Inca textiles were made using cotton (especially on the coast and in the eastern lowlands) llama or alpaca, and vicuna wool (more

Common in the highlands).


Besides using dyed strands to weave patters, other techniques included embroidery, tapestry. The Incas favoured abstract geometric designs, especially checkerboard motifs. Non-geometrical subjects ,often rendered in abstract form, included felines (especially jaguars and pumas) llamas, snakes, birds, sea creatures, and plants.


The principal colours used in Inca textiles were black, white, green, yellow, orange, purple, and red

Blue is rarely used. These colours came from natural dyes which were extracted from plants, minerals,

Insects, and molluscs.


Inca clothes were simple I style, and most were made  using either cotton or wool. The typical

Male attire was a loincloth and a simple tunic or poncho were used in winter season. Women

Women typically  wore a single large cloth wrapped around the body which was pinned at the front.

Other goods made from textiles included bags, for the storage of, for example, coca leaves. These

Were frequently decorated with the addition of tassles.


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