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Land of winds > Traditions > Clothing | Issue 02. Sep.-Oct.2010
By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

The ch’ullu

The ch’ullu (a Quechua term, also spelled chullu or chullo) is a traditional woollen-knit garment with earflaps worn by Andean men, sometimes under a felt hat. This cold weather staple is usually hand-made from sheep’s, alpaca’s and vicuna’s wool dyed in fabulous colours, though nowadays it has become far more common to use synthetic fibbers and several fashion firms have already shown their interest in this piece of clothing. It comes originally from Bolivia and Peru and has spread to Chile and Argentina.
The chunky weight yarn used to knit the ch’ullu and the knitting pattern will protect male users’ heads from the cold of the altiplano, and keep them warm enough. Apart from this immediately obvious feature, in traditional contexts, this garment is an open book that tells a lot about its owner social situation: his civil and economic status, his ethnic and geographical origins even his job in Administration or his political position.
The ch’ullu is a distinctive piece of the Ekekos’ clothing (see), and its miniatures are sold at the Alasitas Fair (see).
There are excellent and interesting collections of ch’ullus at tThe Museo de Instrumentos Musicales de Bolivia (Museum of Bolivian Musical Instruments), the Museo Nacional de Etnografía y Folklore (National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore, La Paz) and the Museo del Arte Textil Andino Boliviano (Bolivian Andean Textile Museum).
As a curiosity, in 2008, twelve Peruvian disabled knitters knitted the world’s largest ch’ullu, measuring 6.5m long and 3.5m wide.

Chullo, in Wikipedia.
Museo del Arte Textil Andino Boliviano (Museum of the Bolivian Andean Textil Art) [es].
Partial view of the ch’ullus exhibited at the Museo de Instrumentos Musicales de Bolivia [es].
Tejen el chullo más grande del mundo (The world’s largest chullo ever knitted) [es].

[Picture 01] [Picture 02] [Picture 03]

Video 01. Peruvian ch'ullus.
Video 02. Peruvian ch'ullus.
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