puskana (Spindle)

About this object

History of use

Men, women and children spin yarn whenever their hands are not otherwise occupied; while walking, herding or visiting. Children learn to spin between 3 and 5 years of age. The majority of yarns are spun from a families own sheep's wool. Alpaca fibre is traded. Commercial yarns are purchased in Puno and re-twisted to make them suitably durable for warp-faced textiles. Commercial yarn is being prepared for weaving a warp-faced fabric.


Bought from Gonzalo Yucra Huatta who made the sample for the Museum on a spindle previously used by his family.

Cultural context

textile production

Iconographic meaning

The direction of yarn twist for ordinary use ply. Yarns spun in the opposite direction to this are made for ritual and magical purposes and are called lloq'e or 'left' spinning.

Specific techniques

Drop spindle; adding s twist to a commercial s ply yarn.

Physical description

Spindle consisting of a wooden shaft with a cone shaped whorl positioned near one end. A small section of red, two ply s twist yarn is wound on the shaft above the whorl and a ball of yarn with less plying twist is attached to the spindle.