The colors of our clothes are words

The colors of our clothes are words

Clothes have always been an important means of communication at a social, historical and cultural level. Depending on the geographical area, historical period and social context fashion changes according to culture. With their colorful and shocking tissues as well as patterns indigenous people clearly express the communicative value lying behind every single garment. (1)

Peru is the place where words are color. In Cusco, the ancient capital of Inca empire, the seven colors flag waves. Seven as the rainbow colors, seven as the energy points of the human body:  the seven main chakras…  Pure energy, joy and happiness; this is what you feel arriving in Peru, here the traditional clothes worn by the women are a hymn to life, the colors surround you, hit you and cover everything, stick to houses, to landscapes and to earth and sky.

Do you know that Incas, the ancient inhabitants of Peru, kept accounts and transmitted secret information with colors? They used colored strings to report information and knotted these wool threads to count. The quipu (academics still debate this instrument) was their calculator, their Excel sheet and their dictionary. “It’ s believed that the quipus were used for astronomical calculations, essential for Inca culture, for magic formulas, but also to report roughly historical and economic events. (2)

Sabine Hyland in an article published on “Current Anthropology” claims that “The cords are in 14 colors (multiple of 7) and can form 95 different combinations “. A Spanish reporter claimed that the quipus made of animal fibers “showed a large variety of vivid colors and they could describe historical events as easy as the European books” and it seems also that they contained secret information for the military generals in battles…isn’t it Fantastic ?!!

The colors used for traditional Peruvian clothes are still all natural and obtained from plants’ leaves, berries, flowers or insects such as the cochineal, from which an intense and vivid red is extracted, when crushed;This color is the most used in clothing both for women and men, because it has two different meanings:It is the symbol of passion, love and vital energy (feminine), it is the color of strength and of the will to live, but on the other side it means also anger, aggression and battle bloodshed (male).

Women in their traditional clothes still wear these intense colors and, on top of that, on the fabric textures made with manual or mechanical looms, they embroider flowers or geometrical figures overlaying yellow to red and violet to yellow, blue to green and orange to indigo, creating this way a fantastic bright colors palette, it talks us about love, vitality, energy and wisdom, able to hypnotize and enchant anyone.

Notes: 1) Chiara Riccio su Lifegate  2) Wikipedia

Pictures from the web[:it]

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