Arpilleras, appliqued textile pictures bursting with color and pattern tell the stories of the women in the shantytowns of Peru

Arpilleras

Arpilleras from Peru

.country market arpillera
Arpilleras or cuadros, exquisitely detailed hand-sewn three dimensional textile pictures, illustrate the stories of the lives of the women of the shantytowns (pueblo jovenes) of Lima, Peru and provide essential income for their families.

"Arpilleras originated in Chile, where women political prisoners who were held during the Pinochet regime used them to camouflage notes sent to helpers outside. Even the most suspicious guards did not think to check the appliquéd pictures for messages, since sewing was seen as inconsequential 'women's work'.

Today, arpilleras are created in a number of cooperatives located in the dusty shantytowns of poor and displaced families that ring the capital city of Lima." Pueblos are collections of the poorest people with unemployment near 80% and few sources of income. "Often the homes are shacks composed of salvaged parts: old doors, panels of straw matting, crating and corrugated metal. Water must be trucked in to the shantytowns because there are no water or sewage systems. Often, the small income from the sale of arpilleras provides the only source of income for families displaced from their traditional lives in the mountains. For others, this income allows the family to educate their children, to provide a little better living standard. For all, it engenders a sense of community among women who are often from very different customs and cultures; it is also a way to express their creativity.

The arpilleras tell the stories of life: stories of planting and harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, grapes, corn; stories of spinning and weaving wool; stories of country life, of tending llamas, sheep and goats; stories of weddings and fiestas.

According to arpillera maker Rita Serapion, "We all have a little art in our minds and in our hands; we will leave something as a legacy for society. It will stay behind us, in another place, in another time."

From "In Her Hands" by Paola Gianturco and Toby Tuttle, Penguin Press 2000.

 

Mountain Village Arpillera

The villagers here are all busy at work harvesting the potato and pumpkin crops while their neighbors tend the animals.

    10"T x 10"W. $38.00

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Colorful Mountain Market Arpillera
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Colorful Mountain Market Arpillera

There is a little bit of everything for sale in this village market. We love the shepherd boy in the background by the blue cactus tree.

17.5"T x 19"W. $89.00

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Village Life Arpillera - extra large

The high peaks of the Andes surround this charming little village with its industrious residents.

23"T x 23"W. $110.00

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Springtime in the Mountains Arpillera
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Springtime in the Mountains Arpillera

The villagers revel in the beauty of their Spring gardens with their flocks in the background.

17"T x 19"W. $89.00

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Fish Arpillera

This delightful pink fish encloses a wonderful scene of daily life in the villages of the Peruvian Andes. Look closely and you will see shepherds with their animals, a farmer harvesting her field, women weaving, dying the yarn and spinning the wool, and another gathering herbs. The details are so finely done!

21.75" nose to tail and 15.5" top to bottom fin. $128.00

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Noah's Ark Arpillera

All the animals are boarding the ark in groups of two beneath the palm trees.

10"T x 10"W . $38.00

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Market Day is Fun! Arpillera

The market is so colorful and lively, filled with bright wool and textiles and lots of veggies.

    10" square. $36.00

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Llamas in Fancy Dress Arpillera

The llamas dressed in their fancy woven blankets are stars among the other village flocks!

    19"W x 17"T. $89.00

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African Savannah Arpillera

A wonderful array of African animals, including a huge herd of elephants, a wonderful crocodile in the lake and, what is that critter in the tree?

23"W x 23"T. $110.00

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Summer in the Mountains Arpillera

Summer in the mountains is lovely with all the plants and trees abloom.

10"T x 10"W. $38.00

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The Virgin of Guadeloupe Appears to Juan Diego Arpillera

Surrounded by the beauty of the mountains of Mexico, the Virgin of Guadeloupe appears in the clouds to Juan Diego.

18"T x 19"W. $76.00

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Mountain Village Harvest Small Arpillera

Village girls harvest their potatoes and cabbages and tend their flocks!

10"T x 10"W . $38.00

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Pueblo del Flores Arpillera

The villages are alive with carpets of wildflowers in the Springtime! There is so much detail in this lovely arpillera—it’s full of joy!

18"T x 20"W. $76.00

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Daily Chores in the Mountains Arpillera

A sheperd girl weaves while tending the flocks of animals while her friend harvests pumpkins.

17.5"T x 18"W. $89.00

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Village Life with Animals Arpillera

With the Andes high in the background, these shepherd girls tend their flocks and gardens.

10" square. $38.00

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Village Fiesta Arpillera

All the villagers are dressed in their best party clothes as they come out to celebrate!

    17.5"T x 19"W. $76.00

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Village Wedding Arpillera

The entire cast is here in this charming matrimonio scene: the bride and groom, attendants, and village people.

9.5" square. $38.00

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Zoo Arpillera

The children are enjoying an afternoon at the zoo in this charming, small arpillera.

    10" square. $36.00

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Temporarily Out of Stock

Country Wedding Arpillera

The lucky couple in their wedding finery leave the church surrounded by all their family and friends amid the flowers of spring.

18"T x 20"W. $76.00

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A Day on the African Savanna Arpillera

This spectacular arpillera is just brimming with life! From the flock of flamingos in flight at the top of the herd of Cape Buffalo at the bottom, they are all here. The fabric choices are delightful on the tiger and giraffe; and on zebras and elephants. The trees and plants are all beautifully rendered with lots of texture. We especially love the hippos with their pearly white teeth!

52"T x 19.75"W. $334.00
SALE $268.00

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