Bodies of Technology: Dress in Colonial Peru

Author(s): Carrie Brezine

Year: 2015


The textiles of Magdalena de Cao Viejo provide an opportunity to study technological changes in one coastal Andean settlement between the late 16th and the early 18th century. As a colonial reducción, Magdalena was home to people of both Andean and Spanish descent. Among the more than 3,000 textile artifacts are examples of cloth woven with pre-Columbian methods and indigenous fibers, fabrics created on European-style floor looms, and examples which combine Andean and European techniques and materials. The size of the collection makes it possible to ask questions such as how widely new technologies were adapted and whether there was any relationship between gender and the use of new techniques. The variety of textiles illustrates how technologies can be accepted, changed, combined, or rejected by individuals. Because many of the fabrics were once part of garments the textiles of Magdalena illuminate ways that technologies are both intimate and public. Technological choices are not only decisions about methods of production but statements of identity which persist long after the process of creation is complete.

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Cite this Record

Bodies of Technology: Dress in Colonial Peru. Carrie Brezine. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396404)


Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;