Nilda Callanaupa

A master Quechua weaver and the first person from her village to attend university, Nilda Callanaupa has been an ambassador for Andean traditions since she began learning ancient pre-Columbian weaving techniques as a young girl in the 1960s. Today she is the director of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC). Founded by Nilda in 1996, the CTTC is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve and promote traditional pre-Columbian weaving techniques in the 21st century.

Nilda Callanaupa presently resides in her home village of Chinchero. As the director of the Center for Traditional Textiles, Nilda provides guided tours of the weaving cooperative and works with more than 160 workers in ten communities around the Cusco area. It is Nilda Callanaupa’s mission to revive the old natural dyes, weaving techniques, and uses for ancient Andean textiles that have started to fade in recent years.

In recent years, Nilda Callanaupa has become a leader in the movement to preserve ancient traditions and has written multiple books that shed light on the intricacies of Andean hand weaving techniques. These books include Faces of Tradition, Weaving in the Peruvian Highlands: Dreaming Patterns, Weaving Memories, and Textile Traditions of Chinchero: A Living Heritage. Nilda continues to write about the various hand weaving traditions in Quechua society and educate the greater audience about the importance of preserving traditional Andean textiles.

Visit Nilda Callanaupa at Her Home in Chinchero Village

On select Small Group Peru Expeditions and Private Peru Tours, Nilda Callanaupa will lead you on a guided tour of the weaving cooperative in Chinchero and will then invite you into her home to eat a traditional Cuzqueño meal with her family. She will then share her fascinating life story with you, explaining her progression from a poor rural villager to one of South America’s leading voices in the movement to preserve ancient Andean traditions.