For four thousand years, textiles have been one of the most complex and artistic expressions to develop in the region of the Andes. Clothing, and in particular woven articles of clothing, attained a level of true communicative expression through which communities depicted their identities and constructed their differences.
The characteristic features of each group’s distinctive style, besides their undeniable beauty, also possessed, in general, a feeling and a precise meaning. It is possible to say, therefore, that Andean textiles can be "read" like a text and that they speak of certain determined thoughts and a particular world vision.
This art survives with great difficulty given the current circumstances of indigenous societies. In the South-central of Bolivia, however, two groups, the Jalq'a and Tarabuco, which today speak Quechua, have been able to maintain their traditional textiles until the present day. Based on these practices that are still alive today, the Program carried out by the Foundation for Anthropological Investigation and Ethnic Development, ASUR, has encouraged resurgence in interest in the textile arts. In addition to creating an additional source of income in this highly impoverished area, the production of textiles for sale has also brought about a spiritual phenomena by fomenting an appreciation of local culture and by continuing the search for new meaning and artistic expression.
The textiles of both regions today have achieved exceptional levels of quality allowing them to be considered not only handcrafts but as works of art part of a greater universal patrimony.