About this object

History of use

The colour, extent of patterning, shape and the manner in which 'chullus' or caps are worn signifies differences in age, sex and status of wearer. Females wear chullus in early childhood, but only males wear them later in life. Knitting is done only by men and boys, traditionally for chullus, but more recently for vest fronts, coin purses, gloves, ties, vests, and sweaters which are sold to tourists. This style of hat is worn by elected officials such as 'Jilakatas', 'Teniente Gobernador' or 'Alcalde'. It is usually worn with a black felt hat and a long sleeved black jacket. This and other accoutrements, like silver banded staffs of office, are used only by officials. As a new slate is elected each year, many men have these hats, but once their term is over, they do not wear them. The style of graduated colour stripes is more typical of Aymara communities around the lake. In this hat it is coupled with a design band of typical Taquile motifs.


Bought in the Cooperative store, Cooperativo Artesanal Manco Capac, in Taquile. Hat was owned and used by Augustin Mamani Machaca when he was 'Teniente Gobernador', the chief elected official, sometime between 1981 and 1984. (Information from Cooperative members working in the store.)

Cultural context

elected officials

Specific techniques

Synthetic commercial yarns are z spun and plied 2 s. Cap is knitted in the round with 5 needles. Worked in stocking stitch with the inside of the cap facing. Ear flaps knit flat in garter stitch. Tassels and chin straps sewn on.

Physical description

A pointed knitted cap with ear flaps, pom-poms on chin ties and a tassel at the point. The cap is banded with rainbow stripes of graduated colours. One wide red band near the lower edge has figures of birds and a butterfly and geometric figures. Three other bands have interlocking hooks repeating around the hat. In between, are many different colours arranged to give a glowing optical effect. The earflaps are triangular and the colour changes in this area follow the triangular shape.