This handwoven backstrap belt - still on the loom, is an extremely fine example of weaving from Chinchero, Peru. This strap is left unfinished on the backstrap loom to demonstrate the weaving process.
The materials are a blend of cotton and alpaca dyed using natural dyes. The red is from the cochineal insect, and lemon, salt an urine can be added to cochineal for purples, but the leaf of a plant called awapili is usually used instead as the colour red is highly prized for it's vibrancy in Chinchero. A lichen used for orange and walnut to dye wool brown. And my personal favourite is teal, which is produced from a succulent like plant call Kucchu. The fungus that grows upon this plant also produces a teal/turquoise colour.
Made by the women and men of Chinchero who are part of the not for profit group, The Centre for Traditional Textiles of Cuzco, or CTTC. The CTTC was established in 1996 by Nilda Callanuapa Alvarez to insure the survival of Peruvian Inca textiles and weaving traditions. Working with the Centre, Quechua speaking women and their families in the region of the former Inca capital are engaged in skill building, community networking and market development. By researching and documenting complex styles and techniques of Inca ancestors, the Centre helps to ensure that 2,000 year old textile traditions will not be lost and may be enjoyed and appreciated for generations to come.