Ancient Peruvian Textiles with Janice Lawrence

We had a fascinating talk on Monday 15 July 2019, given to us by Janice Lawrence, on ancient Peruvian textiles.

Janice started with a brief history of the region, stretching from Ecuador down to Chile and across to Argentina and Bolivia. She explained that the Incas had been herdsmen but developed an empire, whose centre was at Cusco.

With only stone tools and without the wheel or any form of writing they developed and controlled their empire and produced very fine woven, highly decorative textiles.

They grew cotton near the coast and also used the fleece from vicuna, llama and alpaca, all native animals in the region to make cloth. It was not until they were conquered by the Spanish that wool was introduced.

They made woven tunics, mantles, bags, sandals and hats and also used feathers to make elaborate clothing and accessories.

With the arrival of the Spanish, new techniques were introduced, such as ribbon weaving, canvas work and lace making.

The style changed as well, with the introduction of flowers into the designs.

Thank you Janice, for giving us an inspiring insight into the textile techniques developed by an ancient civilisation, their flair for design and their truly remarkable skills.