About this object

History of use

The colour, extent of patterning, shape and the manner in which chullus or caps are worn signal differences in age, sex and status of the wearer. Females wear chullus in early childhood, but only males wear them later in life. Traditionally, knitting is done only by men and boys, formerly for chullus, but recently also for vest fronts, coin purses, gloves, ties, vests and sweaters which are sold to tourists. The fully patterned red and blue hat is worn by married men only. Married men also wear the half patterned style said to be for single men, particularly when they participate in communal work. Wearing the tassel toward the right shoulder also indicates married status.


Made by Gonzalo Yucra Huatta for his own use or for sale. The comb-like motif at the top appears in Gonzalo's knitting, but not in that of most other men. He said the hat was new, but it appears to be slightly used.

Cultural context

married men

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 s or z shaped reverse curve can refer to the boat port or other objects that contain the idea of turning or returning such as a recurved potato hook. The cross or x-shape can refer to the warping cross in weaving, the crossroads or other intersections. The stepped diagonal lines refer to stairs on the steep island, but also to the connection with the afterworld in a particular myth. The motifs represent basic concepts or interrelationships and may have different particular references.

Specific techniques

Plain knitting done circularly on five needles with extra colours carried on the inside for local colour areas.

Physical description

A conical stocking cap with alternating red and navy blue patterned bands and a red tassel on the top. The red patterned bands repeat a six part floret connected by oblique stepped lines. The navy blue patterned bands alternate a motif of a standing bird and an eight part circle. A comb-like navy band appears three times near the top. Two checkered rows near rim.