Kawiña Chumpi Girdle.

Kawiña Chumpi Girdle. Ecuador. First half of the 20th century.


Woven on a backstrap loom, with the warp face technique, in sheep's wool spun by hand with a spindle by a member of the Puruhá ethnic group from the Ecuadorian highlands. The stain colors have been obtained with indigo and cochineal scarlet. In its ornamental design we can see a beginning of small combs in which the blue and light blue of indigo and the red and orange of cochineal alternate, to give rise -as we move forward with the fabric- to rectangles that alternate from time to time with geometric figures. that interrupt the sequence, all of this obtained with the double-sided tilling technique. Its fringes are difficult to work because the threads are not cut at their ends, in order to culminate in the threading buttonhole of a long strip of round braided woolen threads to tie the sash firmly at the waist. Measures. Length: 290 cm. Width: 7cm. Fringes: 8 cm.


Many years ago, says the collector, it was acquired at the Guamote Canton fair from its owner, who in turn had received it as a third-generation family heirloom.


Guamote Canton is a town belonging to the province of Chimborazo, Ecuador, and is located at an altitude of 3500 meters above sea level. The Puruhaes have inhabited the vicinity of the Tungurahua and Chimborazo volcanoes since the 13th century, being conquered by the Incas a couple of centuries later and reduced to the mita system, but despite having adopted Quechua as their language, they continued to worship as gods to its volcanoes. The inevitable transculturation of the mitimaes with their territorial displacements of great human masses gave them the acquisition of the textile techniques of the cultures of the Peruvian coast and the Bolivian altiplano. And politically, the Puruhá ethnic group was able to maintain a certain autonomy with respect to the center of power based in Quito: “It has been possible to establish that the Puruhaes formed an important ethnic domain based on the union of five “llactacunas”. Under the "Cacique de Señorío" were the "main" ethnic lords. The Puruhaes rulers, like those of the Quito region, located the political centers, where the majority of the population was concentrated, in the lower altitude valleys suitable for the production of corn and tubers” [1].


This true collection piece that receives the classification of kawiña chumpi, differs from the so-called mama chumpi in that it functions as a support for the clothing and piece of clothing to be exhibited, while the breast chumpi is a much shorter girdle and wider, coarse tissue, designed to protect the female lower abdomen.



1. Lilyan Benítez and Alicia Garcés, Ecuadorian Cultures: yesterday and today, Edit. Abya Yala. Ecuador, 1993, p. 103.


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