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Textile Treasures and Social Goals

Elvi Bjorkquist - Friday, June 27, 2014


Textile Treasures and Social Goals


Breeding of alpacas for fiber was developed around 500 BCE by the Pukara in the Lake Titicaca region of Southern Peru. Centuries later, the Incas were remarkably successful in refining the domesticated alpaca. Archaeologists have found mummified alpacas at Incan burial sites whose fleece is far finer than any known today. It was the Incas who developed the alpaca into two distinct fleece types, the huacaya and the less common suri. The huacaya alpaca produce crimped fleece appropriate for bulkier yarns, while the suri produce a silkier texture used to make refined wovens.


Mallkini is an alpaca ranch, research center and hotel complex in the highlands of Puno by Lake Titicaca in Southern Peru. Their main thrust is its role as a social project. They improve the animals and share them with the communities so they too can produce fiber that can be sold at a good price – which gives them a dignified life in the mountains. They have started a boarding school near Mallkini so that kids that live three hours away on foot or horseback can get a good education and have personal and professional choices.


The Mallkini camelid produce fibers which compete with mohair, cashmere and quiviut worldwide. In Arequipa they show the most important aspects of the business to visitors. Their camelid fibers are competitive internationally along with pursuing clear social goals.


You can learn more about Peruvian textiles and our textile tours to Peru on our website.

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