Textiles are important in Peru. They have been since pre-Columbian times. They have been since pre-Incan times. They continued to be important despite attempts by the Spanish to destroy indigenous culture and identity, and they are still important today thanks to renewed interest in studying and preserving indigenous culture.
Unsurprisingly, part of the importance of textiles today is economic. Who doesn’t love brightly colored, super soft, or elaborately patterned gifts to take back home to friends and family? Heck, that souvenir might not even make it back home, you’ll end up stealing your sister’s scarf for yourself on the air-conditioned airplane ride. From textiles rendered into modern-day bags, purses, and shoes to more traditional textiles like the liqlla (blanket), jakima (small ribbon), and chullo (knitted men’s hat), there are a range of gorgeous products that fill every market and standout in shop window displays. With all the variety, it can sometimes be overwhelming. How do you know what type of hat to get your dad when there are thousandsof different kinds and thousands of different people selling? How do you find the best deal or the best quality? Where can you find fair trade items? Find the answers in this Guide to Buying Textiles in Cusco.