Teaching Loom

About this object

History of use

This tubular fabric was traditionally woven and sewn at the same time to the edges of bags used to carry coca leaves. It is more common on bags that were made in the 1950's or earlier. Only a few women currently weave it, and all those questioned use the cardboard thread separator. Although it seems to be a traditional fabric type on Taquile, the method of making it may be a revival. Currently, (c.1987) young girls are eagerly learning this technique, encouraged by the possibility of sales to tourists and visitors. One woman is making tubes for sale as shoelaces.


Marcialina was learning to make the tubular woven edging from her 19 year old sister-in-law, Elena Quispe (c. 1987). Elena learned the technique from a school teacher who came from the neighbouring island of Amantani. Marcialina learned by sitting next to Elena as she wove, asking a few questions and being corrected. This is the sample loom on which she learned the technique.

Cultural context


Iconographic meaning

2 part motif of nested lenticular shapes. The zigzag is called 'nawa kenko' which translates as 'eye' and 'meander' or 'zigzag'. This is an ancient and widespread motif which occurs on many types of textile as well as on ceramics from ancient and contemporary Peru.

Specific techniques

Commercial synthetic yarns, z-2s, are retwisted on the drop spindle before warping. The weave structure combines warp twining with diverted warp pairs. The tubular fabric is traditionally used as an edge reinforcement and a seaming technique. The weft, thread on a needle, stitches through the fabric after passing through each weaving shed. The weft always enters the shed from the same side which pulls the fabric around and forms a tube. The 'celco' is made on its own warp and is both woven and joined to the edge of another fabric with a yarn that is the weft and the sewer.

Physical description

A teaching loom consisting of a partially woven tubular fabric with unwoven threads passing through punctured holes in a rectangle of corrugated cardboard and knotted behind. The pattern is made up of repeated white and blue lozenge pattern on a red ground with green and pink stripes. A pair of red weft yarns extend from the final woven row. A clear, plastic cylindrical shaped bar has been passed through the threads.