The Textile Museum Journal: Brilliance, Color and the Manipulation of Light in Andean Textile Traditions

Blue and red woven textile
Man’s ponchito (detail), 19th century. The Fowler Museum 2011.36.11. Gift of Connirae and Steve Andreas. Photo by Don Cole.


As part of our interview series for The Textile Museum Journal, contributing scholar Elena Phipps and guest editor Mary Dusenbury will discuss the Andean predilection for textiles that reflect light.

In her research, Dr. Phipps explores ingenious methods for creating textiles that elicit awe through light, sound and movement. She found these characteristics in textiles from as early as 300 BCE, and her study carries the research to the centuries immediately following the European conquest. In this interview, Dr. Phipps will examine how Andean makers’ keen sensitivity to material, spin, weave structure and embellishment created the effects of light glancing off the surface of the textile.

About The Textile Museum Journal

Our peer-reviewed journal is the leading publication for the exchange of textile scholarship in North America. Published each fall, it features research on the cultural, technical, historical and aesthetic significance of textiles from all around the world. Learn more about the journal

About Elena Phipps

Dr. Phipps was president of the Textile Society of America from 2010 to 2014. She was senior museum conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she co-curated the award-winning exhibition The Colonial Andes: Tapestries and Silverwork 1430-1830. She has many publications on colors, dyes, textiles and culture, including Cochineal Red and Looking at Textiles. She teaches textile history at the University of California, Los Angeles.

About Mary M. Dusenbury

Dr. Dusenbury is affiliate research curator at the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. She has written and lectured extensively on East and Central Asian textiles, and served as project director and editor for an international study that culminated in the publication Color in Ancient and Medieval East Asia. She holds degrees from Radcliffe College/Harvard University and the University of Kansas.

How to Participate

You can register for this program online. After you register, we will email you a link and instructions for joining our program online via Zoom. Simply follow that link at the time the event starts (12 p.m. EST). When you register, you can also request to receive a reminder email one day before the program with the link included.

About the Series

In this series, authors who contributed to volume 47 of The Textile Museum Journal discuss the importance of color studies for understanding the historical and cultural context of textiles. Browse all interviews