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Chinchero

1st Textile Center: "Away Riqcharicheq" Weavers Association of Chinchero

Lacalization: Province of Urubamba

Altitude: 12,342 f.a.m.s.l.

Chinchero has been known as the birthplace of the rainbow, long before it became the birthplace of the CTTC. Located 30 km north of the city of Cusco on a high undulating plain, Chinchero has stunning views of the Urubamba mountain range. Here, rainbows frequently arch over potato fields after thunderstorms, the life-sustaining rain farmers need for their crops. Chinchero is the capital city of a district that bears the same name and is located on a main highway that connects the city of Cusco with the town of Urubamba in the Sacred Valley. Thousands of tourists pass through Chinchero en route to or from Machu Picchu, while many make a quick stop to visit the Tupaq Yupanqui ruins and the colonial church located in the heart of Chinchero.

The colors of the rainbow are not only stamped in the sky in this

Andean people, but they are also woven into Chinchero's own fabrics. These magnificent fabrics have gained international recognition in recent decades. This fame is due, in large part, to the hard work of the members of the Away Riqcharicheq Weaving Association, who have worked tirelessly since the 1960s to bring back their ancestral designs and carry forward their weaving traditions. It has been through the research and publications of this association that Chinchero is now recognized worldwide as an outstanding city of weaving; the impact of reviving the tradition has also allowed the community to thrive. Dozens of other weaving centers and associations have flourished in the wake of this pioneering work led by the original Away Riqcharicheq Weaving Association.

About Chinchero Textiles

In Chinchero, the commoners traditionally weave with the complementary warp-face technique, which allows weavers to make two-sided textiles, that is, both sides of the textile are correct and can be used, since there is no obverse or reverse. . Beginning in the 20th century, weavers also began to learn law, or single-sided supplemental warp, a technique that is used more prominently by other communities in the region. Today, members of the Chinchero community only weave certain textiles such as lliklla (blankets) with local traditional textiles. However, they have incorporated a variety of designs and techniques from other communities for other types of textiles that are often made for sale.

Chinchero lliklla, or traditional blankets, showcase  a wide section of blue, red and/or green plain weave and other symmetrical sections with  designs. When natural indigo dye disappeared in the 20th century, many weavers chose to weave the traditionally blue section in black. For this reason, many Chinchero blankets from the early to mid 20th century have black plain weave rather than blue. Since the 1990s, the weavers of the Away Riqcharicheq  Weaving Association have worked extremely hard to recover the secrets of natural dyeing and teach it to not only the rest of their community but to other communities in the Cusco region as well. Today, the people of Chinchero have been able to reintroduce the use of natural dyes, such as indigo, cochineal red and chilka green, and use it on the plain weave sections of their lliklla.

Luraypu is the main iconography of Chinchero and figures prominently in the center of design sections. Weavers typically place a number of smaller motifs  to the either side of luraypu and in this way, build up the design section of their textiles. Chinchero community members are particularly proud of this special weaving pattern, and  also of their unique border  technique called ñawi awapa. This border is simultaneously woven and sewn onto the edges of blankets, ponchos, and other textiles to protect edges from unraveling with use. In this extremely unique technique, the weft of the border is also the thread used to sew the border onto the textile at the same time that it is woven.

As Chinchero is easily accessible to most visitors, the women of this association offer weaving demonstrations and run a small shop where you can find beautiful textiles from the ten weaving communities that partner with the CTTC. If you are interested in visiting Chinchero for a weaving and dyeing demonstration, contact us or just stop by the Chinchero association any day of the week between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm to meet the weavers.

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