Today was a day devoted to the discovery of a preeminent destination in one of the most famous Andean trails. Machu Picchu, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is a fort situated in the “Sacred Valley of the Inkas” at an altitude of
2,400 m approx. The name means “old mountain” in Quechua, and, you’d better pronounce it right, unless you want to say “οld male genitals” instead!
The day started with a guided tour through a misty and muddy maze of terraces interlaced with sturdy structures made of giant blocks of carved granite that have been identified as temples, workshops and private houses. It ended quite unexpectedly with a fashion show on the train back.
Thank you to Jessica and Carlos, our ticket controllers at Peru Rail, who also did the catwalk, thus giving us the opportunity to see and feel the amazing alpaca textiles once more!
* The first c in Picchu is pronounced as k*; International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
Yesterday we arrived to Cusco after an extra night in Lima due to a cancelled flight.However we manage to arrive in time to our meeting at the El Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cuzco were we met Nilda Callanaupa director of the centre. The centre consisted of a small but very informative ethnographic museum showing everything from the different types of raw-materials,wool: sheep alpaca cotton etc, tools such as looms and spindles and various weaving techniques. Furthermore there were costumes from different regions showing the use of various patterns. Furthermore, they demonstrated the use of costume in different stages in life, newborn, weeding and death.Finally besides costumes there were other types of textiles bags, sacks etc.
Today we visited the Handicraft Centre were women are working, producing many of the textiles. There is also a school were young girls learn to spin and weave. We were very well welcomed and many women demonstrated all techniques in detail from raw-material to finished product. They started with spinning and plying. The yarn is in general very hard spun, the wool is washed but not combed. After the yarn dyed with colours from different plants and the plyed. Two women also demonstrated the warping to a backstrap loom and a very young girl made a warp to band and further two women were weaving different patterns on their looms. They also demonstrated band weaving and knitting and further more plant dyeing. Everything was done very professional and all textiles were of highest quality. This is really the place to go one should go to if one wants to train Peruvian spinning and weaving.
We ended the day visiting two Inca sites Pisca and Ollantaytambo.
Eva Andersson Strand
Today the group split into two.
The first group attended a half-day workshop at the University San Marcos, the oldest
university in South America. 28 conservators and academics participated in the
workshop, which took place at the Centro Cultural of the University located in the
historical centre of Lima.
The first presentation was delivered by Martin Fabbri, director of the Escuela
Academico Profesional de Conservaciόn y Restauracion. He presented the academic
programme on Conservation and Restauration offered by the University.The speaker
noted that the School has all 110 students and that the first professional conservateurs
with an academic degree on conservation are expected to graduate in June 2016. The
curriculum offered balances applied science, archaeology and art, he underlined.
Presentations followed by Marie-Louise Nosch, director of CTR, who introduced the
Centre and the research done over the last decade, Senior Reserachers from the
National Museum of Denmark Ulla Mannering who spoke about “Costume in the
Scandinavian Early Iron Age” and Karin Margarita Frei who gave a short
introduction on “Strontium isotopic analysis”.
The floor was then taken
by Patricia Victorio, professor of art history at San Marcos,
who spoke about “Textiles of Puno. Tradition and Identity” and Maria Isabel Medina,
professor at San Marcos and conservator at the Peruvian National Museum in Lima,
whose topic was “Textile Conservation at the University of San Marcos”. The
workshop closed with a visit to the museum guided by the Prof. Pieter Van Dalen,
historian. Among its other collections,the museum contains a big collection of textiles
from the cultures of Paracas, Izma and Changai. One of the most unique exhibits is
the white mantle of Paracas restaured a decade ago.
The big group then flew to Cuzco to meet the smaller group of 7 people, who had
already flown to Cuzco in the morning.
Now reunited CTR-Peru group spent the night in Cuzco.
Six of the party began the day with a short visit to the archaeology department of the
Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and a meeting with Prof. Louis Jaime Castillo. Prof Castillo has many years experience of Peruvian archaeology and international cultural politics. We discussed different possibilities of collaboration.
After the meeting we left Lima with rest of the group and went south out in the desert. Our first stop was the temple of Pachacamac. This is major site has a continuity of at least 1000 years which ended with the Spanish conquest. The most important pre-Inca religious site in Coastal Peru. In the city there were major palaces , temples, official building and also burial grounds. However, common people lived outside. The highlights were to se the the moon temple also called the house of the protected women and of course the sun temple.
The last visits for today was to the museum Huaca Malena and further, a visit to a major cemetery of the Wari culture. Here we met with Dr. Romel Angelo who showed us the fantastic textiles. The textiles were made in elaborated techniques and an extremely high quality with very thin threads. There were also, for example, several unique examples of head gear in different knotting techniques. The visit to cemetery was so far the most spectacular experience. This major burial ground is still constantly robbed for the dyed and colourful textiles which are taken. The coarser and more simple textiles, together with the skeletons and body-parts, are left on the ground which makes the walk both fascinating and surrealistic at the same time. We all admire Romel for his fantastic work and hope to see him soon in Copenhagen at the Pre-Colombian Textiles Conference.
Eva Andersson Strand