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Ecuadorean warp and weft

Traditionally, most Andean weavers are women. But not in Highland Ecuador. There, the men do the weaving, and they use a different type of backstrap loom than do Peruvians.

Now, a show at the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., spotlights the work of Highland Ecuadoreans. The exhibit and an accompanying book feature 10 regional costume styles.

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Each style identifies its maker as part of an indigenous group. But the Highlanders also incorporated ideas from other peoples, including the Spanish, who ruled Ecuador from 1534 to 1822. The dress of eastern Imbabura province, for example, is based on Spanish costume elements; but it also includes lavishly embroidered blouses (see photo below). Other Highlanders adopted techniques from Chile and Peru.

"Costume and Identity in Highland Ecuador" runs through Sept. 5.

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