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Indigenous Andean People


Quechua Girls in Peru
Photograph of two Quechua girls from the Andes Mountains in the 1960s.  Note that both of them had hand-woven shaws and embroidered blouses.  In addition, the girl on the left was wearing a "chumpi" which is a belt that was traditionally worn by Quechuan women to fasten their skirts.  Hand-woven clothes were frequently made from wool or alpaca from their own animals and dyed with natural pigments made from local plants, minerals and insects (e.g. red color from cochineal insects).  At that time, synthetic fibers and dyes were unavailable in the Andes region of Peru.   In addition, note the use of buttons as adornments on the girl on the right.  Traditional Quechua dress varied greatly from region to region and even within the same community.  The manner in which one dresses could also indicate ones age and status within a given community.  The traditional dress of Quechua women is thought to have its roots in the traditions of the ancient Incan people, combined with Spanish Colonial dress.   

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