Andean mountain region is spread across Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia with some part extending towards Venezuela. Quechua community that dominates the region has remarkably managed to retain its traditional costumes. Their vibrant and colorful costumes talk a lot about their history and indebtedness to ancient tradition.
It is interesting to note that Peruvian traditional clothing emphasizes on hand woven cloth. And the attire is carefully designed to beat Andean chill. Quechua women’s attire is deeply rooted in tradition from pre-conquest Peru and Spanish conquistador. The main components of traditional women clothing include ponchos, blankets, skirts, tunics and different types of hats. Though there is some degree of variation in clothing across Andean region but we will confine ourselves to traditional Peruvian women clothing.
Aymara tribe in Peruvian Andes is well-known for their ability to make brightly colored fabric that is widely used to make Poncho, an outer garment worn by women to keep the body warm. Their clothing is popularly known as isinaka aymar. Aguayos, typical of the Andean region made with multicolored lines that contrast with each other is used for tying around the shoulders. Other items typical to this attire include lluch’u chacha, a kind of woolen hat; warmi wishku, typical leather footwear for women.
Another attire distinctive to Andean women in Peru is Anaco, specifically worn in the city of Tacna. There it is known as Anaco Camilaca predominated by red and black colors. This outfit is especially worn during holidays like Carnival, Easter days etc. The process of creating this hand-woven outfit is complex and laborious. Nonetheless, the indigenous population makes sure to carry forward their tradition with this symbolic dress.
Lliclla, a traditional Andean shawl also known as Manta is a square woven cloth that covers back and shoulders. It is tied securely with the help of a pin called tupu. This colorful shawl is intricately woven and worn on special occasions. Earlier wool jackets were worn underneath mantas but nowadays cardigans are also commonly worn. Women also use mantas to carry children on their back. They prefer to use a larger manta called k’eperina for this purpose.