Taquile and its textile art

Inscribed in 2008 (3.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2005)

Country(ies): Peru



Taquile and its textile art

The island of Taquile located in Lake Titicaca on the Peruvian High Andean Plateau, is known for its textile art, which is produced as an everyday activity by both men and women, regardless of their age, and worn by all community members.

The people of Taquile were relatively isolated from the mainland until the 1950s, and the notion of community is still very strong among them. This is reflected in the organization of community life and in collective decision-making.The weaving tradition on the island goes back to the ancient Inca, Pukara and Colla civilizations, thus keeping alive aspects of pre-Hispanic Andean cultures.

Fabrics are either knitted or woven on pre-Hispanic fourstake ground looms.The most characteristic garments are the so-called chullo, a knitted hat with an earflap, and the calendar waistband, a wide woven belt depicting the annual cycles connected to ritual and agricultural activities. The calendar waistband has attracted the interest of many researchers as it depicts elements of the oral tradition of the community and its history. Although new, contemporary symbols and images have been introduced into Taquile textile art, the traditional style and techniques have been maintained.

Taquile has a specialized school for learning Taquile handicrafts, ensuring the viability and continuity of the tradition. Tourism has contributed to the development of communal economy, which mainly consists of the textile and tourist trade.While tourism is regarded as an effective way of ensuring the continuity of the textile tradition, rising demand has led to significant changes in material, production and meaning. The Taquile population has grown considerably over recent decades, leading to resource shortages and the need to import more and more goods from the mainland.



These videos (and many more) can also be consulted through the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website

Safeguarding project (12-2006/06-2009)

The island of Taquile in Titicaca lake is known for its weaving tradition preserving elements from pre-Hispanic Andean cultures. Weaving is done on fixed and pedal looms to produce characteristic garments. Taquile weaving uses new, contemporary symbols and images while retaining traditional styles and techniques.

The safeguarding action plan aims at preserving and enhancing the transmission of Taquile textile arts and thus to strengthening their cultural identity. The first activity aims at documenting the skills and knowledge involved in the textile arts as well as related social practices, through a local communal inventory of Taquile textile arts, elaborated by Taquile community members, especially young people. The second component is to strengthen intergenerational and inter-communal transmission of the technologies, aesthetics and cultural practices involved in textile arts by reinforcing local education institutions and promoting exchange of knowledge and skills between older and younger weavers. The third activity aims to promote Taquilean cultural and artistic expressions through producing a documentary video and a publication containing information on the other project components and developing educational materials to be used in Taquilean schools.