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The Andean Science of Weaving

Structures and Techniques of Warp-faced Weaves

Denise Y. Arnold, Elvira Espejo


A practical guide to one of the most sophisticated weaving traditions in the world

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The warp-faced weaves of the Andes are the most complex in the world, with up to eight warp levels. While existing studies of Andean textiles use a technical language derived from other textile traditions, this book takes as its starting point the technical terms in the Aymara and Quechua languages used by Andean weavers themselves. The result is a completely new way of understanding one of the great craft traditions of the world.

The authors' work is truly groundbreaking. This is a highly technical book that sets out the authors' alternative classification system via tables, photographs and diagrams. But it is also a celebration of a brilliant and sophisticated weaving tradition. Each technique is described in detail, with technical details and historical development with accompanying photographs and some computer renderings.

Denise Y. Arnold and Elvira Espejo have worked with weavers across the region to understand this language and have studied more than 700 textile samples in museums and collections, from the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to the Instituto de Lengua y Cultura Aymara (ILCA) in La Paz.

It will be of great interest to practical weavers, museum curators, anthropologists, art historians, archaeologists, and anyone with a love for Latin America and its rich textile traditions.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 30.0 x 23.0 cm

Extent: 352 pp

Publication date: 15 June 2015

ISBN: 9780500517925

About the Author

Denise Y. Arnold is an international expert in Andean anthropology and has published widely on the culture, politics and traditions of the Andes.

Elvira Espejo is Director of the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore in La Paz, Bolivia. She is a weaver, storyteller, poet and artist, and speaks Aymara and Quechua.