Chullo 2004.06.21- photo 1.JPG

Time Period: 1968

Category: Accessory, hat

Accession Number: 2004.06.21

Donor: Norma J. Owens


Description:

This chullo is a relatively worn, but intact hat that originated in the Andes Mountain range. According to the donor records, this hat dates back to about 1968. It is a child-sized, brown hat with an off-white design that is constructed using knit and pearl stitches to form stockinette and garter stitches. The hat is bell-shaped and has two ear flaps that extend about 12 centimeters down and 12 centimeters wide. The hat itself is about 31 centimeters long, excluding the ear flaps. These ear flaps are an important reference in the origin of the name of the hat and to its daily uses in Andean culture. On each of the ear flaps and at the top of the hat, a tassel with a frayed pom-pom on the end hangs down. This implies that the hat is relatively old and worn, but still in good condition. These tassels are about 7.6 centimeters long, excluding the pom-poms. The strings and tassels are used to tie the ear flaps up and away from the face in times of warmer weather. [1] Also on this hat are multiple designs that relate to Andean culture. Around the base of the hat, right above the ear flaps, is a chain of left-pointing arrows knitted in an off-white color. Above this arrow design are llamas that circle the entire hat, which are also knitted in an off-white color. There is also a single llama design on each of the ear flaps, which lies above a unique miscellaneous design that is also stitched in an off-white color. Around the edges of the ear flaps, at the base of the hat and in between the designs of the llamas and the arrows, there is a braided, stitch-like pattern that forms a scalloped line. This braid is a subtle, but important element that gives this specific chullo its own style.

History:
The Andes mountain range runs from Ecuador, through Peru and Bolivia, all the way to Chile. There are three diverse regions of the Andes. These regions differ in their climate; some have areas of permanent snow and glaciers, some have areas of high plains, known as the Altiplano, and others have areas of Puna, which are cloud forests, lakes, deserts and volcanoes that lie 13,000 feet above sea level. The climate here tends to be arid and cold. The cultures of people who reside on this land live at high altitudes where the oxygen levels are relatively low. The Andes people have adapted their personal living styles and traditions to survive and live comfortably in these mountainous conditions. Over time, they have evolved to have a greater lung capacity. They also have tough feet, to the point where they can walk around barefoot through freezing conditions, and most people are in impeccable shape. [2] Andean populations have also tailored their wardrobe and accessories to meet their survival needs, including a unique style of hat called the chullo. [3]

The word chullo comes from the languages of the Aymara and Quechua, and refers to the ear flaps that extend down to protect the user from the harsh conditions that result from living at high elevations. [4] The chullo itself is often knitted or crocheted and belongs to the culture of the people in the Andes Mountain range. It is the most prevalent traditional knitted accessory that exists in the Andean culture and based on archaeological artifacts from this region, it may be dated back as far as ca. 600. The evidence lies in the paintings and pottery figures that depict people wearing hats that resemble chullos. [5] However, some chullos, specifically Peruvian style, are also thought to have a Spanish-European origin. [6]

The style of the chullo has been heavily influenced by the topography and climate of the South American region where these people lived. However, the style and design of the chullo is also determined by the region they originate from and by the people who knit them. For example, the knitted designs, colors and symbols depended on the home culture of the hat. [7] The colors of the hat come from different natural resources that were available in the various regions of the Andes Mountains. The symbols and images that were often seen on chullos portrayed local animals that held high significance in the Andes cultures. Some chullos, like the one pictured above, are all-natural in both its coloring and its material. The coloring and symbols of this chullo are inspired by the alpaca and llama, which are both very important in the Andean culture. Their fur is a “fine, soft and downy fleece” that is “lustrous and elastic”; it differs from the hair of a llama in that it is not as coarse or as brittle as llama fur. [8] The colors of the alpaca fur range from grey to white to brown to black and are much longer than that of a llama. However, more often than not, the alpaca and llama symbols are widely used and knitted onto chullos. In the Andes culture, the llama and the alpaca are generally prevalent in daily life. They were used to help transport heavy supplies during times of travel, and their various body parts were used for different daily necessities. Their hide was used for leather, their hair used for rope and clothing, their fat used for candles, their meat used for food and their dung used for fuel. Therefore, because of its usefulness, the entire Andes culture holds the llama and alpaca in very high regard. To the Andean people, llamas are gentle creatures that "express nobility and sensitivity, which in return commands people to respect them" .[9] The llama and alpaca were never beaten or abused because they were so useful and so highly respected; "The llama is the only animal in the service of man which he dare not strike". [10] Another symbol that is often seen knitted on chullos is the condor. The condor is a hawk-like bird that has a physical and spiritual meaning in the Andes culture, specifically to the Incan people. They believe that condors can oversee "Incan procreation and well-being on Earth." [11] The different techniques used to knit these chullos and their designs are very intricate and detailed. The technique used to knit these chullos can be seen in the videos below.
Andean Knitting Video
Knitting a Chullo

This next video is an interview with Elayne Zorn, an anthropologist, who is a reputable source when it comes to learning about Andean culture, knitting and chullos.
Elayne Zorn interview

Throughout the Andean mountain area, the labor patterns do differ a bit, but they are all relatively similar. All men, women and children are involved in textile production, but it is the men who are mostly responsible for knitting the chullos. This role men have in knitting their own caps is a very important part of the Andean culture, and it is most often underestimated. These men are the creators of the complex designs seen in Andean knitting, and they put great effort into their work. [12] One of the most important cultural rituals of the Andes that include the chullo is when a father gives his son his first chullo. A boy's first chullo is knitted for him by his father when he is very young. If the father cannot knit, it is his responsibility to find a close family friend or relative to complete the task for him. [13] This first chullo is meant to be very elaborate and have very intricate designs; it normally takes a man up to an entire month to finish the first chullo for his son. These chullos are also heavily adorned with woven hatbands, known as sentillo, and are decorated with white beads that are used as status markers, depending on one's social or economic status. [14]

The chullo is very important when it comes to status, identity and age in the Andean culture. In most cultures, the chullo is a typical form of headgear for men who live anywhere throughout the Andes Mountain range. Women only wear them for fiestas or special occasions. More often than not, almost every man wears this hat, as it has become a part of a distinctive cultural wear throughout the high mountains of the Andes. [15] Chullos are widely seen being worn by the lower Peruvian class because they worked in the harsh weather conditions of the mountains on a daily basis. Those who live in the countryside are rarely seen without their chullo. [16] However, depending on the region one is from, the meaning of the chullo can vary. For example, in the area of the Tacquile Island, men typically wear the chullo to indicate their marital status. The chullo soltero is a chullo worn by unmarried males. It has a mostly white upper area with a colored base and no ear flaps. The pintay chulllo is worn by married men and is most often red and navy blue striped with rows of colorful stylized figures and designs. [17]

The overall outfit that most men and boys wear with the chullo differs from region to region but the daily "costume" includes a poncho, wool chullo and a specific type of wool pants that have a white layer underneath with a dark layer on top. In the different area of the Andes Mountains, the chullo is worn differently with the numerous outfits of the people in each region. In the Huancavelica region in Peru, the knitting of textiles and clothing is exceptionally colorful and complex. [18] The men in this region often wear a combination of factory made and handmade clothing. These men wear corduroy or cotton shirts with knit arm warmers over their sleeves and black bayeta pants stuffed into their hand-knit socks. This outfit is normally completed by the chullo, which is covered by a brown or black felt hat that is decorated in a specific way to indicate economic and marital status. In warm areas of this region, the ear flaps of the chullo are tied up and attached to the pompom that rests on top of the hat. This region is unique to the design of their chullos because they purposely knit designs onto the inside of ear flaps so that they can be displayed when the ear flaps are tied up. The women of this region are rarely, if ever, seen wearing knitted clothing such as the chullos or the socks.

Another region that has a unique daily outfit is the Cuzco region of Peru. In this region, the local men wear outfits inspired by European styles and factory made clothing. Some handmade clothing is still worn, but only to show ethnic affiliation[19] The traditional poncho and chullo are also only worn to keep traditional textile clothing in the daily life of the people of this region. These chullos are knit by the men and boys of the region, and include intricate designs. These designs are inspired by viscachas and llamas, and are often embellished with buttons, bead and big tassels. The ponchos and chullos are designed and embellished in a way that highlights the characteristics of the highland village from which they originate.

Each of these regions, as previously mentioned, differ slightly in their style of dress and their style of chullo. The one similarity that each of these regions shares is the influence a man has on the wardrobe of their sons. Boys tend to adapt the chullo and poncho look from their fathers. [20]

The chullo is an ancient accessory that has lasted for many years in the Andean culture. Over the years, it has evolved to fit various needs of the different people who live this way of life. Modern chullos are now made from many different types of yarns, including hand-made and machine processed yarns from traditional alpaca and synthetic fibers. Most modern chullos are also knitted with different designs, such as rows of cows, birds and pinwheels. These modern chullos are a desirable souvenir that is often marketed to tourists who visit the Andean area, since it is traditional accessory and native to the area. Another use of chullos in modern times is as a fashion statement for the winter Olympics. Many fashion designers have adapted the indigenous and ancient style of the chullo to use for current design ideas. For example, Ralph Lauren tailored the chullo to a highly marketable winter head wear that athletes could wear at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. [21]

Researcher:

Maghan Ballantyne, TMD 224S S14

Last updated:

May 4th, 2014

Other Images

Chullo 2004.06.21 - photo 3.JPGChullo 2004.60.21 - photo 2.JPG
  1. ^ LeCount, Cynthia Gravelle. Andean Folk Knitting: traditions and techniques from Peru and Bolivia. Saint, Minnesota: Dos Tejedoras Fiber Arts Publications, 1990.
  2. ^ Wilson, Jason. The Andes: A Cultural History. New York: Oxford Press, 2009.
  3. ^ Chico, Beverly. Hats and Headwear around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia. United States of America: ABC-CLIO, 2013.
  4. ^ Schneider, David . "Peruvian Hat | Alpaca Hats | The Chullo." Inside-Peru. http://www.inside-peru.com/peruvian-hat.html (accessed April 2, 2014). http://www.inside-peru.com/peruvian-hat.html
  5. ^ Chico, Beverly. Hats and Headwear around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia. United States of America: ABC-CLIO, 2013.
  6. ^ Schneider, David . "Peruvian Hat | Alpaca Hats | The Chullo." Inside-Peru. http://www.inside-peru.com/peruvian-hat.html (accessed April 2, 2014). http://www.inside-peru.com/peruvian-hat.html
  7. ^ Ibid
  8. ^ Wingate, Isabel B., editor. Fairchild’s Dictionary of Textiles. New York: Fairchild Publications, Inc., 1967. page 14
  9. ^ Wilson, Jason. The Andes: A cultural History. New York: Oxford Press, 2009. page 14
  10. ^ Ibid
  11. ^ Chico, Beverly. Hats and Headwear around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia. United States of America: ABC-CLIO, 2013. page 108
  12. ^ LeCount, Cynthia Gravelle. Andean Folk Knitting: traditions and techniques from Peru and Bolivia. Saint, Minnesota: Dos Tejedoras Fiber Arts Publications, 1990.
  13. ^ Heckman, Andrea M. Woven Stories: Andean Textiles and Rituals. UNM Press, 2003.
  14. ^ LeCount, Cynthia Gravelle. Andean Folk Knitting: traditions and techniques from Peru and Bolivia. Saint, Minnesota: Dos Tejedoras Fiber Arts Publications, 1990.
  15. ^ Schneider, David . "Peruvian Hat | Alpaca Hats | The Chullo." Inside-Peru. http://www.inside-peru.com/peruvian-hat.html (accessed April 2, 2014). http://www.inside-peru.com/peruvian-hat.html
  16. ^ LeCount, Cynthia Gravelle. Andean Folk Knitting: traditions and techniques from Peru and Bolivia. Saint, Minnesota: Dos Tejedoras Fiber Arts Publications, 1990.
  17. ^ Ibid
  18. ^ LeCount, Cynthia Gravelle. Andean Folk Knitting: traditions and techniques from Peru and Bolivia. Saint, Minnesota: Dos Tejedoras Fiber Arts Publications, 1990. page 12
  19. ^ LeCount, Cynthia Gravelle. Andean Folk Knitting: traditions and techniques from Peru and Bolivia. Saint, Minnesota: Dos Tejedoras Fiber Arts Publications, 1990. page 13
  20. ^ Heckman, Andrea M. Woven Stories: Andean Textiles and Rituals. UNM Press, 2003.
  21. ^ Chico, Beverly. Hats and Headwear around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia. United States of America: ABC-CLIO, 2013.