History behind the piece

The lliqlla is a typical textile of the Andes of Peru used by women in indigenous communities mainly as a coat. In contrast to its masculine brother, the poncho, which entered the city in a public and visible way, the lliqlla remained silent among its own and housed geometric signs that reveal, as in other pieces that are part of traditional Andean clothing, the space and identity of its creators.

The lliqlla covers the back of the woman and is traditionally fastened to the chest with silver pins known as tupus. This intricate warm weaving, whose manufacturing process was carried out entirely by hand, is made up of several stripes, among which the pallay bands stand out, a term in Quechua used to indicate the presence of selected geometric motifs in a certain expressive order. The designs do not articulate sentences, but are expressed as notes of a melody that together basically represent the user's environment.

The color has a special meaning beyond its beauty, since the combinations are not used by chance, but rather respect schemes capable of indicating the geographical space to which the fabric belongs. This, in particular, is a traditional piece of the Ancasmarca community in the province of Calca (Cusco, Peru) made with sheep's wool, a specimen considered an expression of ethnographic art1.

Unlike many handmade fabrics that are currently developed on large pedal looms made of wood from the colonization era, this traditional piece was made on a simple backstrap loom; instrument used for more than 5000 years by the ancient inhabitants of the Andes.

Approximately two months were used for its creation, just in terms of setting the loom and the careful hand-weaving. It is worth mention that this time does not include the previous processes through which its fibers pass: from the shearing of the wool, the cleaning of impurities, the unraveling of the fleece, the color classification, the first twisting of the fibers to obtain the preliminary thread, the development of the skein, the dyeing with plants, to the final spinning, processes that are also carried out by hand.

This piece preserves the traditional characteristics of shape, color, decoration and size typical of the lliqllas of the Ancasmarca community. Its fabric that goes from amaranth red to vermilion red, passing through touches of Maya blue, bronze and beige (dyed with wild pigments) shows us in its iconographies a large number of stars, rose farmlands, and at the same time indicates the belonging, on the part of the weaver, of different groups of animals such as rabbits, alpacas and birds.

Origin: Ancasmarca, Cusco
Measurements: 59 cm x 79,5 cm
Condition: Excellent
SKU: 0387

Personal Collection of

1Ethnographic Art is considered to be that production made by the member of an ethnic group, made exclusively for personal or communal use, and that necessarily carries a cultural load of the people to which it belongs.