• F4
  • F3
  • F1
  • F2

PHIPPS, Elena (2013). The Peruvian Four-Selvaged Cloth: Ancient Threads, New Directions, Los Angeles, Fowler Museum Textile Series, No. 12. ISBN: 978-0984755059, softback, 96 pp., notes, bibliography. Price: US$ 26.98

A book accompanying an exhibition with the same name that was held at the Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, from October 2013 – February 2014.

The exhibition concerned a particular type of cloth that has four, rather than the normal two selvedges. It examines this particular form of tapestry weaving (often using a split tapestry form), which can be traced back for hundreds of years in pre-Columbian Peru. It is particularly associated wieth the Chancay (11th-15th centuries) and Wari (6th-11th centuries) cultures. This technique was used for items of clothing as well as for household goods. The end results were often spectacular examples of the technical and visual skills of the weavers.

A twist in the story comes with the author, Elena Phipps, teaming up with contemporary textile artists, namely James Bassler, John Cohen and Sheil Hicks, to create modern textile art based on this ancient technique. Some of the results are spectacular, others are much more subtle, but it is a good example of how inspiration can be drawn from contemplating, examining and learning from older pieces.

Recommendation: In the first place this is a book for those interested in the history and technical skills of South American and Peruvian textiles in particular. But the added dimension of the modern textile artists means that it should also appeal to those working within and alongside the field of Textile Art. Well worth looking at and reading in a quiet moment at home.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood


Search in the TRC website

Subscribe to the TRC Newsletter

TRC in a nutshell

Hogewoerd 164
2311 HW Leiden.
Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 /
+31 (0)6 28830428  

The TRC is open again from Tuesday, 2nd June, but by appointment only.

Bank account number:
NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59,
Stichting Textile Research Centre

TRC Gallery exhibition:
5 Febr. -27 August 2020: American Quilts

facebook 2015 logo detail




The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Stichting Textile Research Centre.
Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here
Financial donations to the TRC can also be made via Paypal: