Girdle belt. Leque. Bolivia. Early 20th century.

Museum quality piece. Woven in sheep's wool; it ends in a remarkable flat braid fringe after the threads have run in a design with a “fish tail” effect. Measurements: 88 x 16.5 cm / 34.64 x 6.5 in.

Just as other Alto Peruvian peoples or ayllus have stood out for their ponchos, in the case of Leque its credential card in the Andean textile world are their girdle belts. To its complex weaving technique are added mythical figures, the result of its geographic isolation that will include weavers ignoring the prohibition to represent them, set out in the Toledo Ordinances, promulgated by this viceroy of Peru in 1573.

“The Leque textile factory has a very complex technique that differs from the rest of the Andean fabrics of Bolivia. The girdles especially stand out for their quality and great beauty. These are woven with the double fabric technique in which three groups of warps of different colors alternate and are worked simultaneously. In general systems are: a dark color (brown, cherry or purple) combined with pink and white or pink and yellow (…) The double fabric technique used in the girdles and the pallay of large fabrics gives the piece a padded appearance in the space in which this technique is used”. (1)

Notes: 1. Teresa Gisbert, Silvia Arce, Martha Cajías: Textiles in the Bolivian Andes. Ed. Bolivian Photo Agency / Quipus Cultural Foundation, 2003, p. 147.


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