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A weaver and child weaving traditional Tarabuco dress


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Both the Jalq'a and the Tarabuco women weave a variety of household products, from clothing and the male chuspi, to grain bags, seed bags, and horse blankets. However, the most decorative and complicated of their weaving is represented by the axsu, a kind of mantel worn by women, and composed of two pieces sewn at waist height, with pre-Colombian origins. The axsu generally follows the same pattern, with wide decorated spaces at the top and bottom, and a space of a single colour in the middle (black in Tarabuco, and black or brown in the Jalq'a area) called the pampa. Whilst the area and the quality of the decorative areas vary, according to whether the axsu is intended for everyday wear, or use in fiestas, the colours, weaving techniques, and general designs used remain the same.

The majority of textile production and weaving undertaken by the women from Tarabuco and Jalq'a is performed in their own homes. Weaving will be fitted in to the timetables of the women and girls around their necessary daily tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, taking the younger children to school, and helping in the fields during the harvest. Consequently, the weavers are unable to know exactly how many hours they have devoted to any one weaving; however, a large pallay of superior quality will generally take around three months to complete. This flexibility allows the weavers, both male and female, to earn an additional income whilst still continuing with their necessary everyday domestic and agricultural chores.

Creating a tejido using the decorative weaving technique called pallay is a lengthy process, as the wool must be gathered and spun manually, before formed into skeins and dyed. This wool is then used to prepare the loom, before the actual weaving process can begin. For more information visit The Weaving Process


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A Jalq'a Supay

The Jalq'a world, like that of the human subconscious, is one of both the known and unknown, the real and the imaginary.

Called the land of Ukhu Pacha, it is the world of strange, fantastical and threatening creatures calld the khurus.... More

The design characteristics of the Preparing ChicaTarabuco weavings are marked by their strong sense of symmetry, use of colour, and depiction of real life. Representing the concrete world, the weavings are ruled by a sense of natural order; depicting all aspects of the Tarabuco culture, from the natural world of plants and animals, to the Tarabuqueños themselves, the weavings should be read as an expression of real life... More