Taquile and its Textile Art

The island of Taquile is located on the Peruvian High Andean Plateau, in the Titicaca Lake, in the department of Puno. The candidature concerns the cultural space of Taquile island and 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 island is characterized by its mountains and terraced plots and a variety of wild and cultivated vegetation as well as by its stone paths and archways, some dating from pre-Hispanic times.


The Taquile population was relatively isolated from the mainland until the 1950s and the notion of community and family is still very strong among them. This is also reflected in the strong organization of community life and collective decision-making. The weaving tradition on Taquile island goes back to the ancient Inca, Pukara and Colla civilizations; it thus keeps elements from pre-Hispanic Andean cultures alive in the present. Besides Aymara and Spanish, the Taquile people speak Quechua, an indigenous language of Peru.

All weaving is done on pre-Hispanic fixed and pedal looms. The most characteristic garments are the so-called chullo, a knitted hat with an earflap, and the calendar waistband, 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 the design of Taquile textile art has introduced new, contemporary symbols and images, the traditional style and techniques are still maintained.

Taquile island has two schools: an elementary school, where classes are held both in Quechua and Spanish, and a specialized school for learning Taquile handicrafts, contributing to the viability and continuity of the Taquile tradition.

Tourism has contributed to the development of communal economy, which mainly consists of the textile trade and the provision of tourist services. While tourism is regarded as an effective way of ensuring the continuity of the textile tradition, rising demand also leads 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.