Ancient Andean weaving developed by pre-Inca civilizations and inherited and perfected by the Incas is considered as one of the greatest textile in the world and is compared
to finest textile developed by the ancient Egyptians.
The Incas used cotton, the wool of alpacas, llamas and the superior and rare wool of vicuñas and guanacos. Clothing
made of the wool of vicuñas and guanacos was exclusively for the Inca and the nobility. One of the greatest weavers before the rise of the Incas was the Paracas culture
dating back to 600BC. They created brightly colored textile using natural dyes managing to create 190 different shades, some of these tapestries maintain its original colors
and have been preserved in excellent conditions due to the dryness of the desert and the lack of natural light. Their creations show style and design unparalleled to any other
pre-Inca culture. Common designs used in their textile were geometric figures, anthropomorphous and animal designs such as birds and felines.
In ancient Inca culture the
development of the textile industry and trade had an important role in society and politics. Even though the Incas did not parallel the artistic development of some of its
predecessors they did develop mass production which allowed its redistribution throughout the empire. During the reign of the Incas textile was used to solidify the control of
new territories. When the Inca conquered new territory he would present its leader with the finest textile and if accepted they would also accept the Inca as their new ruler.
nca clothing identified the status of people, ethnic group and their ayllu in the Inca society. Clothes and textiles worn by the general population was made of abasca textile
which was made of a coarser wool, usually the wool of llamas. In the coast they mostly used cotton. Abasca textile was made by women and children who spun the
sheared wool into thread with a spindle.