These traditional Peruvian textiles are known as Frazadas, which means blankets or bed covers. But these Frazadas are thick handwoven and heavy enough to be used as rugs.
Frazadas are 100% sheep wool textiles woven by hand and hand-dyed in the rural villages of the Andes by Aymara women in Peru. They use old techniques inherit through generations and it takes weeks to finish just one frazada. They are used to protect Andean people from freezing temperatures in the winter time in their villages located over 9800 feet above mean sea level (3000 meters). The Frazada is made by 2 separate weaven parts which are then sewn together. The central and border seams show decorative details and colors that contrast the design and colors of this textile, highlighting its beauty.
How are they made?
These rugs (frazadas) are completely handmade and using natural products in all the process:
The sheep is clipped by hand and its wool is cleaned by using a natural shampoo from Saqta plant. They called it “the Inca shampoo” because it is used to wash their hair, prevent hair loss and avoid gray hair.
When the wool is dry, the spinning process begins, using the pushka, or spinning stick, which women learn from age 6.
They use natural dyes from vegetables, plants and the most important: from the cochineal. This scale insect is the origin of the natural dye carmine. To fix the color they use volcanic stone, alum stone, lemon and Maras pink salt.
After the wool yarn has been dyed and dried, the woolen threads are crossed in the loom so that the blanket that is made is reversible. And the selection of the colors depends on the mood of the women. Among the tools they use to weave, you can find a llama, alpaca or condor bone, which allows them to adjust the fabric during its elaboration.
The designs are created spontaneously, without having a design or pattern at hand. They have learned more than 40 designs that goes from generation to generation. Their designs are inspired by the fauna and flora that have around them as the llama, condor, puma, snake, mountains and lakes.
The colors they use have a special meaning:
Red: Represents the Andean cereal (kiwicha and quinoa)
Yellow: Sun or Inti
Green: Coca leaves, of millenary use for ritual, energetic and healing purposes.
Black: The most important color because it represents the Pachamama or Mother Earth.
Photos: Fiorella Madsen/ La casa de Freja