Power to the Potato!

Andean Textile ArtsIndigenous Connections

Serve up the papas fritas, French fries, or pomme frites! May 30, 2024 will be the first-ever International Day of the Potato, a date chosen to coincide with the historic Peruvian National Potato Day celebrations. This is the first time that the United Nations has ever declared an international day for a major crop. They recognize potatoes have an important role in helping to eradicate poverty, improve food security, and provide healthy and nutritious food to millions of people. Potatoes are one of the five most consumed crops around the world following wheat, rice, corn, and sugarcane. And although you may initially think of German potato salad or French fries, potatoes were first domesticated between 8,000-10,000 years ago in southeastern … Read More

Book Review: Deep Rivers

Virginia GlennBook Reviews

When I first picked up the book Deep Rivers by José María Arguedas, I was fascinated that it was originally written in Quechua—not Spanish. Even though the author was born into an upper class, Spanish-speaking family in Andahuaylas, Peru, Arguedas spent most of his childhood being cared for by Quechua-speaking servants. This background gave him the unique advantage of seeing the world from the perspectives of both the oppressors and the oppressed. And this semi-autobiographical book shows us how he interpreted these two views. Ernesto, the main character and narrator of Deep Rivers, is closely connected with his country and its people. He visits or mentions many different cities—so many that I found myself needing to write them all down … Read More

The Re-Emergence of Ticlla-Watay: An Overview

Ercil Howard-WrothBehind the Scenes, Indigenous Connections, Textile Traditions

A number of pre-Columbian textiles are so technically sophisticated that scholars today can’t be sure how they were made. Breathing new life into “lost” textile forms has been an important focus of the ten community weaving associations of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC), where they continue to re-vitalize Andean textile traditions and techniques. Between roughly 600 and 900 CE, the Nazca and Wari peoples evolved a very complex textile form, referred to as “Wari tie dye” by museums and scholars. These ancient pieces rival 1960’s tie dye in their vibrant designs, but the techniques are dauntingly complex, combining resist dyeing and multi-colored, de-constructed, and re-constructed woven cloth shapes. In 2020 Andean artisan weavers living in several of … Read More