Newsletter #6: Bibliographic Recomendation

Gasas Prehispánicas

Gasas Prehispánicas

… Ruth Corcuera
REDTEXTILIA Editorial Council

The 5th WTA International Biennial gave the Olga de Amaral award to the Argentine researcher, Ruth Corcuera for her outstanding trajectory in the textile field.
We wish to add our recognition by way of recommending the following five books, which get us close to textiles from the perspective of different moments in history. These become textbooks for anyone wishing to look into this wonderful world.

Pre-Hispanic Gauzes (Gasas Prehispánicas)

With the collaboration of Isabel Iriarte
Ed. FECIC, printed in Argentina, 1987
ISBN: 950-9149-26-8
103 pages

The goal within these pages is to propose better knowledge about pre-Hispanic textile art in one of its most refined and lesser known manifestations: the gauze.
When in the amplest sense of the word, one talks about gauze, one identifies it with a transparent cloth, perhaps doubting whether to include those having dense textures, or profusely decorated light ones with the appearance of lace, or weaving with elasticity resembling that of crêpe.
Gauze, despite complexity in construction, when fundamented in its potential for primary structures, was achieved with very simple instruments. RUTH CORCUERA


Andean Textile Inheritance (Herencia Textil Andina)

Printers SCA, Buenos Aires, 1997

…The weavers of Chancay, with great creative capacity, got into textile sculpting and turned it into true “modern art” pieces. Chancay continued its tradition until 1700 although the artistic language achieved with weaving open nets is believed to have disappeared in the epoque of the Incas.

Re-established in its dimension of artwork component, the game within the spirit of our weavers is evidence of the times when ingenuity and freedom got conjugated, without breaking the harmonious dimension of its pieces…


Ponchos from the Plata High Plateau (Ponchos de las Tierras Altas del Plata)

Editorial Fondo Nacional de las Artes,
ISBN 950- 2005
232 pages
Price: $58 US dollars
More information:

The poncho is an almost universal garment. Due to its simplicity and logic, it appeared spontaneously a bit everywhere. Ruth Corcuera talks to us about our ponchos—those on this side of the American continent—and from her description arise the characteristics of those deemed as ours.

Sometimes we have described a magnificent poncho owned by the humblest of people, but always, although we may be ignorant of everything about textile art, the weaving techniques, or the occult symbology of chromatic values or drawings, intuitively they let us know they’re ours—those belonging to our patrimony, and integrated as our most precious cultural assets.


The Art of Cotton In Catamarca (El Arte del Algodón en Catamarca)
1910 – 1961

Ediciones CEAFIC, Argentina, 2007
ISBN 950-9010-37-5
120 pages
More information:

This book is published during times when weaving is revitalized, in various techniques, in practically the entire country of Argentina. In the work, the researcher’s strength gets enhanced by her talent as a writer. Sustained by references from scientists, anthropologists, and writers, this book may be read as an in-depth treatise about the silk cultures of the Orient, Europe, and the Americas, or as a study on textiles as expressed by native and mestizo cultures from a continent that the Europeans dreamed as paradise, or Utopia, or even as a familiar story told all so generously that it’s alsmost an offering.

The author analizes the various causes for the exodus, the youngsters’ desire to uproot themselves, the lost solidarity we long for. The past can give us answers; tradition can operate as a mobilizing agent or innovating stimulus… “The efforts and solidarities described herein, far from being echoes of a lost past are part of the alternative paradigm that is offered for the renewal of our society,” says Corcuera.


Women Of Silk and Land (Mujeres de Seda y Tierra)

Editorial ARGENTINA, 2006
ISBN 987-21998-2-5
192 pages
Price: $60 Argentine pesos, USD$16.12

“I think that stories of life—very popular anthropological theme today—tell us of the intention of the one who gathers them. In this case, it was textile themes, to whose research I dedicated many years, allowing me to get close to the intimacy of women from other cultures. Designs and colors establish links that go beyond words.

When I lived in Africa, whose image to the world is just hunger, strife, and oblivion, I received valuable testimony about how even in precarious situations the human condition can be rescued, and inner dignity can be defended. In the midst of an ethnic war caused by fighting over fertile lands alongside the Senegal river, a simple blue dyer woman stood out. I remember her within a refugee camp, over-populated, with groups of sick people with cholera and with the continuous echo of sobbing: Aminata had marked the territory of her world. It was small—only the rectangle of her mat. There, covered entirely in her pagne (skirt and cloak in one), she had completely isolated herself. The colors of silks and woven cottons competed against golden threads. She was a light zone in the midst of that darkness.”

Other texts published by the author:

2009. Tramas Criollas. Hommage to the researchers, Ricardo Nardi and Susana Chertudi. Compillation together with María Cristina Dasso.

2000. Pre-Hispanic Art: Creation, development, and persistence in textile art.

1991. Sacred Blue (Sahara Notes)

Biographic note: Ruth Corcuera was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but got her father’s love for Catamarca. Her real name being Rosa del Valle Quiroga, her mother called her Ruth in hommage to a story by Gabriela Mistral. She adopted that name, and her husband’s last name.

Translation: Silvia Piza-Tandlich