Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles

Faja (Belt) with Robot and Animal Motifs



Faja (Belt) with Robot and Animal Motifs


This fajaSpanish for belt, represents the extreme intertwining of tradition and change found in contemporary Andean weaving. It is woven with neon-bright polyester thread, yet in a doublecloth technique common during the pre-Hispanic period. Doublecloth was first revived at the beginning of the 20th century, while the color gradations that appear in the background are a mid-20th century innovation. Called k’isa, this juxtaposition of gradually lighter and darker shades of the same color has become synonymous with Aymara ethnicity, as seen in a large green lliklla in the exhibition.

While these features balance past and present, the imagery embraces the future. Look closely to find the figure recognizable as a robot. This image appears to be an imaginative version of “R2D2” from Star Wars. It demonstrates that weavers continue to draw inspiration from the changing world around them (just as the Guna of Panamá do in their blouse panels, seen in the adjacent gallery).

Geographic Area

South America, Bolivia, Department of Oruro, Province of Abaroa, Qaqachaka


21st century



Credit Line

Museum purchase, courtesy of the Bright Collection of Guatemalan Textiles

Accession Number


Photo Credit

Photo by Michael McKelvey, 2017

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