About this object

History of use

The techniques, structures and some of the motifs have pre-Conquest antecedents. This type of textile conveys the most about an individual's ethnicity, sex, age, status, and particular history. Scarves of this sort are worn by grooms, male dancers in the Candelaria Fiesta and Jilakatas (4 traditional leaders elected annually). The manner of wearing the chalina differs in each case. The dancer wears 2 across his chest. The jilakata wears it folded once width-ways and draped over one shoulder.


Bought from Elena Quispe Flores and her husband, Domingo Quispe Cruz in Taquile. Made by Elena for Domingo to wear at their wedding in July, 1987. On the first day of the wedding, he wore it around his neck, folded in half lengthwise, then tied in a single knot with the 2 ends hanging down the front like a tie. The weave is very fine and Elena was able to do only 5-7 cm. in a day. She made 2 scarves on the same warp. The other scarf is in the Museo Folklorico Taquile, on the mannequin depicting a male dancer in the Fiesta of Candelaria.

Cultural context

special occasions

Iconographic meaning

The range of motifs refers to local geography and landmarks, ecology, fecundity as well as luck. The six part circle refers to the division of land into six sections on Taquile and the rotation of crops and fallow periods. The cross is 'tejeral' or scissors. The rayed diamond is 'paya', a small star. The 4 part diamond is 'vaka wisa', pregnant cow. The s-shape motif is 'chakra con camino', agricultural fields and roads.

Specific techniques

Synthetic commercial yarns, z spun and plied 2-s, are re-twisted on a drop spindle. The background and stripes are warp-faced plain weave. The stripes with motifs are complementary warp weave with 3 span floats aligned in alternate pairs. The scarf is a complete loom width but is cut cut from a longer warp. The warp ends are fringed by retwisting groups, plying them and knotting the ends.

Physical description

Long red cloth with multi-coloured stripes in pink, orange, green, yellow, dark blue and white. Three white stripes with geometric patterns, fish and bird motifs in dark red and green, are alternating with other stripes. Plied and knotted fringes at each end.