The Peruvian women keeping ancient textiles alive

Recently updated on August 13th, 2023 at 04:55 pm

You can’t go far in Peru without seeing the technicoloured textiles that have become synonymous with this area of Latin America. But these Andean woven crafts are an ancient tradition; the 10,000 year-old methods for spinning, dying and weaving these rainbow textiles are kept alive today by the local indigenous women of Peru.

Discover how these local Peruvian women are preserving their country’s heritage by making beautiful handicrafts, supported by JoinTrafalgar and the TreadRight Foundation.

peruvian textiles

The craft of Peruvian weaving

In the Andes of Peru, the traditional textiles that the indigenous people wear are not only made and worn for practical reasons, but they also form a crucial part of their cultural identity

Traditionally, the fabric used for these textiles is delicate alpaca, llama and vicuña wool, which is native to the Andean area. This wool is warm and versatile, with the weavers using bright coloured dyes to put their own stamp on their creations. 

Located in the Andean mountains, near the Sacred Valley, the living museum of Awana Kancha offers a first-hand look into how the local indigenous Quechua women use the age-old methods to produce traditional textiles and preserve this area’s unique artisanal heritage.  

During a visit in Awana Kancha, the women will demonstrate the centuries-old methods used for spinning, dying and weaving Andean traditional textiles.

The preservation of ancient Andean heritage

Unfortunately this long standing Peruvian tradition of weaving is at risk of extinction, in the face of changing times.

As one of the recipients of a TreadRight Foundation grant, the Centro de Textiles Tradicionale del Cusco (CTTC) in Peru is a non-profit organisation established by Andean weavers to aid the survival of Cusqueñan textile traditions and provide support to the indigenous people who keep them alive. Officially established in 1996, the organisation employs more than 500 individuals from the Cusco region.

Peruvian women weaving in Cusco Highlights of Peru trip

With Trafalgar’s help, the grant was used to finish the construction of a traditional weaver’s home at the Chinchero Weaver’s Centre, which welcomes locals and visitors alike, in order to provide education about the traditional weaving techniques and promote the sale of the textiles. 

Empowering local Peruvian women through responsible travel

Responsible tourism in this area of Peru will help to support the local women in providing an income for their families, as well as preserving and promoting the ancient traditions of this Andean community for years to come.

By visiting Awana Kancha, Chinchero Weaver’s Centre or the CTTC in Cusco, Trafalgar guests can truly Make a Difference to the lives of the local women and the preservation of an ancient Peruvian heritage. Find out more about our JoinTrafalgar initiatives and how responsible travel can empower women around the world. 

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