A Guide to the Culture and Traditions of the Andean Communities of Peru
The traditional dress worn by Quechua women today is a mixture of styles from Pre-Spanish days and Spanish Colonial peasant dress.
Lliclla - a small rectangular handwoven shoulder cloth fastened at the front using a tupu, a decorated pin. However it is more common nowadays to see a large safety pin being used.
K'eperina - a larger rectangular carrying cloth worn over the back and knotted in front. Children and goods are securely held inside.
Polleras - colourful skirts made from handwoven wool cloth called bayeta. Women may wear 3 or 4 skirts in a graduated layer effect. On special occasions such as festivals women may wear up to 15 polleras tied around the waist. Often the trim of each skirt is lined with a colourful puyto which is usually handmade. In some areas polleras are also referred to as melkkhay (Quechua)
Monteras - hats vary tremendously throughout the communities in the Andes. Often it is possible to identify the village from which a women comes from just by the type of hat she wears. Hats are secured with delicately woven sanq'apa straps adorned with white beads.
Unkuņa - a small rectangular cloth which is used for carrying snacks such as corn or coca.
Ajotas - sandals made from recycled truck tyres.
The photo above is typical of women's traditional dress in the Ausangate region. Under their shoulder cloths the women wear wool jackets called a juyuna with front panels decorated with white buttons. They are elaborately adorned and commonly turned inside out for everyday use. Under the juyuna women wear a tight-fitting synthetic sweater usually in brilliant shades of yellow, pink and green.
Men's Traditional Dress
Younger Quechua men generally wear Western-style clothing, the most popular being synthetic football shirts and tracksuit pants. Older men still wear dark wool knee-length handwoven bayeta pants. A woven belt called a chumpi is also worn which provides protection to the lower back when working in the fields. Mens' fine dress includes a woollen waistcoat, similar to a sleeveless juyuna as worn by the women but referred to as a chaleco. Chalecos can be richly decorated.
The most distinctive part of men's clothing is the handwoven poncho. Nearly every Quechua man and boy has a poncho, generally red in colour decorated with intricate designs. Each district has a distinctive pattern. In some communities such as Huilloc, Patacancha, and many villages in the Lares Valley ponchos are worn as daily attire. However most men use their ponchos on special occasions such as festivals, village meetings, weddings etc.
As with the women, ajotas, sandals made from recycled tyres, are the standard footwear. They are cheap and durable.
Chullos are frequently worn. These are knitted hats with earflaps. The first chullo that a child receives is traditionally knitted by his father. In the Ausangate region chullos are often ornately adorned with white beads and large tassels called t'ikas. Men sometimes wear a felt hat called a sombrero over the top of the chullo decorated with centillo, finely decorated hat bands.
Since ancient times men have worn small woven pouches called chuspas used to carry their coca leaves.
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