Textile art in the city of the rainbow – Chinchero
Chinchero, one of the most typical cities in the circuit of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a city eminently Inca which the Spanish tried to civilize to establish their culture, but could not succeed entirety because its people up to date are reluctant to leave aside their culture and tradition, they live inside the constructions, in the same place where their distant ancestors lived and formed the largest and most prosperous civilization of America.
In addition, they preserve textile culture. It can be said that the settlers of this beautiful City keep alive all the ancient techniques used for the manufacture of garments, uses, and decoration. It handed down from generation to generation. Artisans of Chinchero produce the garments with ancient techniques, such as the use of the “away” and the “loom”. They use products such as wool from alpaca and sheep for their clothing.
The craftsmanship that demonstrates the ladies of Chinchero is not only a regional wonder. Their quality is recognized worldwide and attracts thousands of tourists throughout the year, and none of them are going without taking with them one of the colorful, graceful, and well-decorated garments that are exhibited. Their secret is in the manufacturing process.
Craft activities, such as the dyeing of wool yarn from sheep and alpaca wool with natural dyes and woven garments. This is a sign of their ancient culture. In the town of Chinchero, there are several Centres of Textile Art gathered in “groups”, to date, there are more than 12 Centres and groups of Textile Art.
Textile art shelter:
Chinchero is located at the northwest of Cusco at 28 km, about 3160 m.a.s.l., surrounded by snow-capped Salkantay, Veronica, and Soray. The view from this place is breathtaking. Chinchero is in the province of Urubamba, the department of Cusco. It is also part of the tourist circuit of the Sacred Valley.
We will learn the ancestral way of the elaboration process of this textile art:
The wool gets from sheep, lamas, and alpacas.
Then it goes through a washing process that includes a plant known as “saqta,” and that acts as a detergent for washing the wool used warm water and bowls of clay.
After that, the yarn is done by using a plain spinning wheel (pushca), but the whole process is done by using the fingers only.
Subsequently the dyeing starts, Chinchero has succeeded in almost all tones of the spectrum of light-based only on dyes of natural origin. To obtain the different colors in Chinchero’s textiles, a wide range of exotic plants is used, the most noteworthy of which are the kimsak ‘uchu to achieve the blue color, the flower of broom for the yellow, the kinsa kucho for the green, or the “mote” for the red, among many other species that are grown there thanks to the abundant flora of the region. Urine is used for the dye to “grab” the fabric (urine of children under the age of 2).
MEANING OF THE COLORS
- Green ============== to the nature.
- Blue ============== to the blue sky.
- Red ============== the life and the blood.
- Yellow ============= the fire (Inti Tayta).
- Purple ============= the nobility (the Inca).
Finally, it goes through the process of twisting the threads, where the balls of wool are made. Then the wires are inserted into the looms, and one of the most amazing events starts in the City of the rainbow. The fabric in looms, using ropes and pieces of wood, the artisans combine bright colors and beautiful designs into blankets and ponchos.
Some of the products they make are:
Recommendations to go to visit a textile art center:
- Always carry a hat for the sun.
- Apply sunscreen, preferably every 2 hours (factor 35 is recommended as the minimum).
- Bring a camera.
- Pay close attention to the explanation of the speaker.
- Do not make noise during the explanation. It is in very poor taste and disrespectful.
- Show all your enthusiasm as much as you can.
The weavers of Chinchero have managed to bring the fabric once more to the forefront of its community, the City of the rainbow is now recognized worldwide as a city of prestigious woven whose focus on reviving the tradition has also revitalized the community, visiting the town of Chinchero and seeing their amazing textiles, is included in the tour to the Sacred Valley and in order to make this happens you can contact Inkayni Peru Tours, a company with professionalism, competency, responsibility, and kindness; components you will surely identify.