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Faces of Tradition
Faces of Tradition

Faces of Tradition

Weaving Elders of the Andes


152 Pages, 10 x 10

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $34.95 (US $34.95) (CA $34.95)

Publication Date: December 2013

ISBN 9780983886044

Rights: WOR X UK & EUR

Thrums Books (Dec 2013)

Price: $34.95


In this revealing cultural study, dozens of ancient weavers and the landscapes that they occupy in the Cusco region of the Andes are vividly portrayed through personal stories and life experiences, bringing to life the decades of endurance, skill, fortitude, and natural pride honed from the time-honored traditions of the region and its people. Some of the storytellers featured here include Pitumarca’s Timoteo Ccarita, who became so interested in the old textiles he found on his own travels that he re-created tapestry techniques from sight; Leonardo Quispe, who single-handedly rescued and revived the techniques of ikat-style tied-warp dyeing (watay) in his community of Santa Cruz de Sallac; and Cipriana Mamani, who remembers that in her town of Accha Alta, their finely woven textiles had many lives and were repurposed for use over and over again. Intimate photographs capture each of the elders, some of whom had never seen a picture of themselves or even looked in a mirror, revealing the life, strength, character, and experience of these men and women.


"This beautiful book is both a celebration of cultural survival and homage to one of the greatest art forms ever brought into being by the human imagination, the textile traditions of Andean Peru. But it also brings together two women whose friendship over forty years must surely rank as one of the most creative and significant collaborations in the history of anthropology. When Chris Franquemont and her late husband Ed first met Nilda as a young girl of fourteen, who could have known that the result would be the very rebirth and reinvention of a craft that more than any other had expressed the essence of life in the Andes for 4000 years. Nilda Callañaupa has become a living treasure in Peru; the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco an inspiration to all. Chris Franquemont was literally the godmother of both. This book is their gift to the world."  —Wade Davis, explorer-in-residence, National Geographic Society

"An elegant, soulful book unlike any other I have held in my hands. It is a call for the honoring and preservation of culture through tapestries, through weaving, through the dignity of those who listen to the truth of their lives with their hands. This is a book about time and beauty woven together through weavers’ stories. A review in five words: portraits of integrity and love."  —Terry Tempest Williams, author, When Women Were Birds

"As one would expect from Nilda Callañaupa, who has devoted her life to weaving, this book is a well-made labor of love which pays tribute to the most enduring and emotive of Andean traditions. The photographic portraits, by Joe Coca, are sensitive and dignified."  —Hugh Thomson, author, The White Rock

Author Biography

Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez is the founder and director of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, a consortium of 10 village weaving centers located throughout the Andean Highlands, with a gallery and museum in Cusco, Peru. She is the author of Textile Traditions of Chincero and Weaving in the Peruvian Highlands. She lives in Chinchero, Peru. Christine Franquemont is an anthropologist who has lived and worked in the Andes studying textiles and essential native plants. She is co-chair of Andean Textile Arts, a North American support organization for the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut. Joe Coca is a photographer of people from all walks of life over five continents, industrial products and installations, architecture, food, and especially handcrafted textiles and other artisan goods. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.