Chinchero Weavers

Chinchero,  the "birthplace of the rainbow" as it was known by the Incas is a highland community (approx. 12,500 feet elevation) about 30 miles outside of Cuzco.  It has a very active community of weavers who have revived  traditional and ancient techniques, abandoning modern equipment and yarns.  Their mantas (shawls)are woven on backstrap looms, using hand-spun  wools dyed by hand with traditional natural dyes.  This is a much more difficult and time consuming way to produce their fine crafts, but the women are sincerely devoted to keeping the ancient skills alive.  Some of the artists' groups also conduct classes and workshops for other weavers, including foreign visitors, the most important one being The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco where most of the following photos were taken.
 

The cathedral at Chinchero, built on top of pre-Inca ruins

The crafts market at Chinchero

Dying the llama wool by hand with natural dyes

Two of the weavers

Egracia Quispe with one of her mantas

Adela Callañaupa Alvarez with her manta

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