Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut
Preussischer Kulturbesitz


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p. 173-200

Denise Y. Arnold and Elvira Espejo*

Andean weaving instruments for textile planning: The waraña coloured thread-wrapped rods and their pendant cords

Resumen: Estudios recientes sobre las cuerdas andinas anudadas, llamadas khipu, analizan su uso no solamente en tanto sistemas de contabilidad, sino también como sistemas de registro y documentación, incluso con aspectos de planificación. Esta hipótesis ha sido trabajada en relación con khipus entendidos como objetos acabados y como objetos compuestos no acabados. En todo caso, hasta ahora, los estudios de los textiles andinos han centrado su análisis en la construcción semiótica de objetos ya completados, y han prestado menos atención a su relación con el más amplio sistema administrativo. Aquí analizamos los textiles como parte de más amplias redes productivas, teniendo en cuenta tanto su totalidad como sus partes constituyentes. Desde esta perspectiva sometemos a un nuevo examen algunos instrumentos de tejido arqueológicos e históricos, llamados en aymara waraña, usando analogías etnográficas para indicar la manera como estos instrumentos podrán haber sido usados en el pasado en estos sistemas más amplios de planificación y administración en la producción de textiles.


Palabras clave: Instrumentos de tejido, textiles, waraña, khipu, Qaqachaka, Bolivia, Andes, época precolombina - siglo xxi.

 

Abstract: Recent studies on the Andean knotted threads, called khipu, consider their use not only as records of quantity, but also as more general recording and documenting devices, with integral planning aspects. This possibility has been explored in relation to khipus as finished artifacts and as composite objects under construction. However, until now, studies of Andean textiles have tended to restrict their analysis to the semiotically constituted construction of already completed artifacts, with less attention to their relation to this wider administrative domain. Here we consider textiles as part of wider productive networks, in their totalities and their constituent parts. We reconsider some archaeological and historical weaving instruments, called waraña in Aymara, from this point of view, using ethnographic analogies to suggest ways in which these instruments might have been used in the past in these wider planning and administrative systems overseeing textile production.


Keywords: Weaving instruments, textiles, waraña, khipu, Qaqachaka, Bolivia, Andes, pre-Columbian era - 21st century.

* Denise Y. Arnold (PhD 1988, University College London), an Anglo-Bolivian anthropolo gist who specializes in Andean studies, has been Leverhulme Research Fellow and ERSC Senior Research Fellow. She is currently Research Professor at Birkbeck, University of London, and named researcher in the AHRC-funded project “Weaving communities of practice”, and Director of the Instituto de Lengua y Cultura Aymara, in Bolivia.

Elvira Espejo, born in ayllu Qaqachaka (Abaroa province, Oruro, Bolivia), is a painter, weaver, poet, singer and storyteller. Her first book of oral tradition was a finalist in the Indigenous Literatures Competition in the Casa de las Américas, Cuba, and published by Unicef (1994). In 2007, she received a prize for her first volume of poetry in the Fourth World Festival of Poetry, in Venezuela. A graduate of the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes in La Paz, in 2010 she represented Bolivia with an installation in the international exhibition “Principio Potosí” in Spain, Germany, and Bolivia. Her DVD of Andean songs with Álvaro Montenegro, “Cantos a la casa/Utan kirki”, was mentioned in the recent competition Disco-Cuba.



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