The Colors of the Coya's Robes

Author(s): Blenda Femenias

Year: 2016


Of the many surviving pre-Columbian Inka textiles, especially those made in tapestry and featuring tukapu (rectangular design blocks), only a few full-size garments are associated with females. There are, however, many miniature female garments. Inka textiles also tend to follow a limited number of color combinations, although some textiles show a more diverse, even exuberant mixture. Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, in his section on the coyas (queens), attributes a specific set of colors to each coya, naming the main color used in her mantle (lliklla), skirt (aksu), and sash (chumbi). He tells us, for example that Mama Ocllo had a yellow mantle and a dark blue skirt—colors not visible in his line drawings. In the colonial period the situation changes markedly, as many of the most spectacular surviving garments are women's mantles. While there is some literature on the colors associated with the Inkas (e.g., the red puma), the dyes in the textiles, and the colors that Murúa shows for female dress, overall the correlation of colors with people and garment types has not been explored in depth. This paper consider the question of color as closely correlated with high-status Inka female's garments.

Cite this Record

The Colors of the Coya's Robes. Blenda Femenias. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403315)


Inka Textiles women

Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

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