If you have ever traveled to Peru, Bolivia, Chile or Argentina you will surely have seen more than one woman from the Andes using these colorful blankets that have a lot of tradition and history. This textile piece is called aguayo and is a rectangular piece of colored wool. Women wear it as a complement to their clothing, to carry children or things.
If you look closely at its design, you can see in most of them 3 well-defined blocks that are the edge or “t’irja” from where the blanket is tied. Then there is “pampa” or the flat part, which is of a specific color. And finally, “salta” or the part with patterns of figures. Aguayo can be made in various colors and patterns, but each color has a special meaning. The colors can indicate the region where it comes from and in other cases the use that is given, such as for everyday use, for festivities or for certain activities such as picking and carrying potatoes.
In Peru it is mostly known as lliclla and is more associated as a female garment. As we have already seen with other handcrafted pieces, the tourism boom and the interest for these handicrafts, make new ideas come to delight the tourist. This is how industrially manufactured aguayos can also be found. It continues to maintain the design, they are more colorful, but the fabric is much thinner and is not made with wool, that is, it does not maintain the tradition of this textile piece. I must accept that the two aguayos that I have at home are of this type.
In which products we can find these textiles?
Now that we know a little more about the aguayo and its history behind, we can see how this beautiful blanket of colors has been introduced into the houses. The aguayo is used for what it is, a blanket, but also its colorful fabric has been used to cover pieces of bohemian style furniture. Chairs, cushions, poufs, and even its beautiful fabric is used for other decorative pieces such as pots. I can think of a thousand more ideas.
Ideal for lovers of bohemian style, don’t you think?
Arnold, Denise Y. El textil y la documentación del tributo en los Andes: Los significados del tejido en contextos tributarios. La Paz, 2019.