The poncho is a rectangle formed of two long strips of backstop woven fabric sewn together. An opening is left in the middle of the join for the head to pass through. Little is known about the origin of the poncho in the Andes, they have been discovered as far back as the Paracas culture (600BC to 200 AD). Andean ponchos vary by region in size, color, design and quality. There are small ponchos in Accha Alta, and much larger ones in Pitumarca. They all feature traditional palley (woven symbols) from the weaver’s community.
This intricate cloth is handwoven on a backstrap loom and then joined to make a rectangular cloth. The join is hidden by embroidery, and the four edges of the cloth and the neckline are finished with the traditional ñawi awapa braid trim. The stripe patterns are woven with different motifs running vertically—all traditional to the village of Chinchero. The wool and alpaca yarn is naturally dyed from local plants, flowers, barks, bugs, and roots; the background coloring in this poncho comes from cochineal a natural red dye extracted from cactus-eating scale insects. Peru now produces the largest amount of red cochineal dye in the world.
This poncho was woven by Luzmila Huaman Quispe, a member of the Chinchero village and cooperative member of Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, located in the Peruvian Highlands of Cusco. CTTC works with Quechua weavers to ensure that their 2000-year old textile traditions continue to thrive, and to aid in economic development.
Colors: cochineal, sage, rust, with accents indigo, gold
Fiber: 90% wool, 10% alpaca
Size: 46″ W x 64″ L