In 2013 I visited the Tinkuy held in Cusco, Peru. It is a huge gathering and celebration of weavers from all over South America and further afield, who meet in the small, picturesque town in great numbers.
The Tinkuy begins with a parade of hundreds of weavers who are dressed in their beautiful traditional finery, they are grouped according to their own specific regions - each quite distinct and coming from Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Guatemala, India and Navajo Nation. Different regions have diverse traditional costumes, from the bowler hatted Bolivian women, to the different voluminous, pleated colourful skirts that whirl and spin around when the women dance.
The dazzling spectacle of this parade, accompanied by muscicans and dancing culminates in the small town square where there is a blessing by the Quechua elders. The combination of colour, movement, patterned textiles and smiling excitement is special to witness.
The word "tinkuy" means "gathering" in Quechua, the indigenous language spoken by many Andean people.
There are presentations, demonstrations, talks and workshops for the next few days, for me it was most fascinating to look at the different weavers and their intricate and skilled weaving. Such simple equipment belied the complexity of their work and level of expertise. The Tinkuy showcases the treasures that still exist in small pockets in our world. The appreciation and respect for traditional dress, the sheer beauty of it, the pride in culture and the skill and prestige of weaving was a real lesson to us as mere spectators.