Hidden Threads of Peru: Q'ero Textiles
by Ann Pollard Rowe and John Cohen
Co-published by The Textile Museum, Washington, DC and Merrell Publishers, London
due February 2002
28 x 23 cm, 160 pages, 130 illustrations (most in color)
softcover $29.95, hardcover $45.00


Hidden Threads of Peru: Q'ero Textiles introduces Q'ero textiles to the world. It examines the relationship between the fabrics and the community that produced them. Using many documentary photographs, the book joins ethnography and textile art to present this rich and complex tradition. The Q'ero textiles and looms are shown in color, with detailed images of the fabric structures and patterning. The book is co-authored by Ann Pollard Rowe, curator of New World Textiles at The Textile Museum, Washington, DC, and John Cohen, photographer, film-maker and musician who has made many trips to Q'ero over the past 40 years. Rowe builds her text from the fabrics themselves as well as from earlier ethnographic reports, while Cohen presents anecdotes and observations from his experience with the makers of textiles in Q'ero itself.

The book gives a wide view of the Andean landscape and the people's lifestyle, and then focuses in on the uses, designs, and techniques of their weaving. It also presents Q'ero rituals where the textiles, alpacas and llamas are celebrated. The book's distinctive contribution is in how it uses textiles as the central factor in understanding indigenous tradition. It gets close to the lives of the weavers and uses many direct quotes from the people who make the fabrics, talking about the nature of their Andean life. Ann Rowe describes and analyzes the fabrics and reveals how Q'ero weaving has developed from the time of the Inca empire to create new techniques. The use of hidden warp yarns permits both faces of a 3-color pattern to be equally clear. The book shows the evolution and range of patterns in this weaving tradition over a hundred year period, and includes photographs from 1924 to the present.

The exhibition Hidden Threads of Peru: Q'ero Textiles will be on view at The Textile Museum, 2320 S St., NW, Washington, DC, from March 21 - August 4, 2002.

John Cohen will give a presentation at The Textile Museum on March 22, and a film showing March 24, 2002.


The book can be ordered on line at www.textilemuseumshop.org or by phone 202 667-0221, ext. 29, or fax 202 483-0994, or by mail at The Textile Museum Shop, 2320 S St., NW, Washington, DC 20008.