About this object

History of use

Bayeta, a type of coarse cloth, is made on the treadle loom and is used for garments that are cut to size and sewn, such as trousers, shirts and vests. The style, the construction and the loom used are derived from Spanish peasant tradition. Handspun sheep's wool is the traditional material but synthetic yarns are now used as well. In Taquile, white shirts are traditionally worn by unmarried girls and women and red shirts are worn by married women. Today, many married women wear pink or red pullover sweaters and few red bayeta shirts are seen. Girls, however, continue to wear shirts of this type. Girl's shirts differ from shirts for males in having straight cuffless sleeves and no collars.


Bought from Elena Quispe Flores in Taquile. Made by her adoptive father, Ascencio Huatta Yucra, for her use, about 1985. She wore it in her mid to late teens before she was married. Her husband, Domingo Quispe Cruz, added the embroidery to the collar.

Iconographic meaning

White shirts distinguish unmarried women and girls from married women who wear red.

Specific techniques

Z spun wool yarns woven in roughly balanced plain weave fabric. Rectangular garment parts cut from bolt of material and sewn together by hand and machine. Feather-stitch (variation of buttonhole stitch) embroidery on collar.

Physical description

Shirt of natural white wool with slash neck, stand-up collar and long, straight sleeves. The collar is embroidered at the front outside with slashes of bright coloured yarn and outlined with a red band. The front bottom of the shirt is shorter than the back. The fabric is thick and somewhat felted with some black wool woven in along the back bottom edge.