Vicuña textil

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Vicuña Textil
of
Inca Civilization

The making of pre-Hispanic Peruvian textiles is a very old tradition sometime in the early 11 century. Around c.1000 A.D., Incas migrated into the highland center of Cuzco’s valley in Peru, and influenced Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, and parts of Columbia and Argentina. The Incas were an important Native American society that worked on different types ofTextiles. The Incas had the main population of camelid1 from the foothills of the Peruvian Andes, thus the most important was the vicuña. The procedure to make those beautiful textiles was a forceful labor and time consumed. They had four steps to create the fabric and each piece of cloths.

The first important process was to captivate the vicuña. (Picture 1, 2, 3) Those animals are veryterritorial and organize on family groups. The Incas assumed that each of these precious animals was the reincarnation of a beautiful maiden. It says that she received to coat of pure gold that assented to the advances of an old and unattractive king. Incas believed that the Sun King prohibits the killing of any vicuña, except for an Inca royalty. He was able to offer a ceremonial sacrifice of onevicuña to thanks the gods for the land’s and animals' fertility. Therefore, the ceremonial hunts were held every year. It was not easy to capture those animals, because they were completely scare and good runners. The Incas created a plan over the years in order

to capture vicuñas, called the “chacu3.” At this point, Incan men would form a half circle beating drums and singing, as the vicuñaran before them. As the human circle grew tighter, all the vicuñas were soon surrounded by running into man-made pits. After that, they separated the vicuñas into groups. The small, female, and specimens’ male were shorn and released with another ritual dance. Thus, the prospered animals with the better fiber were ready to shear.

The second process was to cut off the hair of the vicuñas.(Picture 4, 5, 6)We can think in how difficult could have been shaving a wild vicuña. This animal did not have continuously contact with humans. In order to maintain the animal calm, this braved men worked in groups to hold the animal. They grabbed the vicuña in a head-lock with one arm, holding and grabbing their tail, and flipping them down onto the ground. Ones the animal stopped its violentmovements; they began cutting down the hair. Very careful without hurting the animal, the process was just like shaving a dog. The Incas worked in groups, using a manual shear to take the wool in one single piece, with the texture, thickness and heaviness of cotton baton. As great humans beings, Incas did not sheared the softer wool part of the vicuña, under the belly, because was the thermal protectionof the animal’s central organs. Ones they finished, the animals were free to go back with their group. The process lasted for about half and hours with each vicuña. Then, the women picked up the pieces of wool and started their work. Therefore, prior to make any piece of cloth, they had to put together the stings.

The third part of the textiles procedure was to make the hairy cotton of thevicuña into yarn. Females worked into wools as part of their house hold. As in “The World of the Incas” book by Prescott says, “In this domestic labor all the female part of the establishment was expect to join. Occupation was found for all, from the child five years old to the aged matron not too infirm to hold a distaff.” So, Inca’s officials selected girls around the age of ten to spend the restof their lives into a special center to learn and practice weaving. In order to reach an excellent textile was indispensable for these expert women to create a thin and even thread.

The idea for these women was creating a great tension with a post that unites together the wool into one long piece of thread. After that, they rolled them in a small branch or piece of wood. It was during this...
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