Peru is renound for it’s rich, colourful textiles produced by entire families of local artisans. Many of these families live in small villages high up in the Andes where their traditional lifestyle is far more reminiscent of a bygone era than the hustle and bustle of the modern world. Peruvian rug weaving techniques go back thousands of years with the collected knowledge passed down from one generation to the next since it’s origins in the Inca civilization. The accumulation of graphic designs, classic techniques and sumptuous textures make Peruvian rugs a must have for any affictionardo of South American culture or lover of craftsmanship.
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In Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Inca’s, which encompasses the heartland of the Inca Empire, villages have small farming plots where they raise alpaca, sheep and llamas in the same way they have been doing for centuries. The wool of these animals is then washed and used to weave beautiful rugs, blankets and garments. The textile artists work in families or cooperatives to both preserve the ancient weaving techniques and earn an income by showcases their techniques to tourists and selling the results of their combined efforts.
Peruvian Rug Style, Patterns & Colours
Colour is very significant in Peruvian rug making and natural ingredients extracted from plants, minerals, insects and molluscs are used in the making of the dyes. Main colours used are red (to represent conquest), orange, green (representing rainforests and agriculture), purple, black (symbolising creation and death) and white. The rugs are created using a backstrap loom for smaller pieces and a horizontal single-headed loom or vertical loom with 4 poles for larger ones.
Apart from popular abstract geometrical designs most of the symbols and rug patterns are inspired by nature, animals – such as llamas big cats, birds and snakes as well as mountains, rivers, plants and such which represent a reverence for Mother Earth. These are sometimes arranged to tell a story, honour important events or celebrate life in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.