Called lliqlla (pronounced l-yick-lya) in Quechua, and manta in Spanish, this is a special piece of Andean clothing. The manta is a medium-sized square textile composed of two pieces of fabric, each woven on the backstrap loom. The two halves are joined together by a central seam, but unlike the poncho, the entire length is sewn. These central seams are often very decorative, featuring such stitched designs as zig zags, triangles or starbursts.
The greatest heights of artistic expression and technical accomplishment are showcased in a manta, as this is the last stage of a weaver’s artistic development. Here, a weaver demonstrates her skill and creativity by combining as many pallay (woven symbols) as she can in unique and complicated arrangements. Sometimes very complex and challenging weaving techniques are employed during the weaving of a manta, such as discontinuous warp. Discontinuous warp weaving is a very difficult technique that requires the use of scaffolding to allow the warp yarn – and, as a result, the colours visible in the textile – to change half-way through. Due to its complexity, this technique is no longer widely practised, and is common in only one community in the Cusco region.
Mantas are traditionally worn over the shoulder by women, covering the back. They are first folded on the diagonal, and joined by two corners under the chin with a large pin (traditionally called a tupu). Mantas can be used simply as protection from the elements, but are also frequently used to carry a variety of items – from potatoes, to firewood, to plants harvested for dyeing…and even babies!
The DANIEL Master Weaver manta is as technically marvellous as any, and makes a beautiful addition to any home as a table covering. Connect your family to Daniel’s, and admire the intricacy of the weaving and complexity of the pattern that set him apart as a Master Weaver.