With its yellow blooms and snow-white down, cotton witnessed the birth of civilization in ancient Peru. In the villages of the earliest farmers, 4500 years ago, people were already clad with cotton textiles.
In the beginning, they made not only fabrics, but also a variety of implements, especially fishing lines and nets. With these, they sustained the growing coastal populations, guaranteed their food supplies and led to commerical exchange.
With the development of the cultures, cotton fabrics reached the highest levels of technical and artistic sophistication.
The Paraca, Moche, Nazca and later on, the Wari peoples, used cotton to produce knotted looped, woven and embroidered structures. Coloring by painting or dyeing simple or complex figures, enabled them to express their well-developed sense of esthetics.
Among fields of corn, yucca or beans, cotton plants were also tended by the Incas, for whom they were just as important as those subsistence crops.
The Spanish were amazed by the methods used to cultivate cotton, the variety of its natural shades, the skill applied in its processing, and the delicacy of the resulting products. However, after the arrival of the Spaniards, the cotton was abandoned and the colored varieties were lost.
The dawn of the modern era in the twentieth century brought conditions where great importance was given to the cultivation of cotton in Peru. Thousands of hectares were devoted to the crop, and it became one of the country`s principal export products. Varieties such as Egyptian, North American, Algerian, Metafifi, and Sea Island made their debut in order to compete in the words`s markets.
Two varieties, pima and tanguis, developed for pest resistance, stood out among them all. They became the basis of a national textile industry, and their presence in ports of England and the United States of America in the 1920s evidenced the status of the cotton industry in Peru.
The ancient Peruvians believed that cotton was like fragments of clouds fallen to earth to clothe the people in the land of the Incas - a gift from their gods.
In the Andean region, cotton was cultivated almost as a sacred plant whose coquettish yellow flowers illuminated the oases of the Peruvian desert, and whose bolls of sublimely white cotton fiber played a part in the birth of one of the world`s greatest civilizations.
For the past 4500 years, the stems of the cotton plant, wavering in the warm desert wind, have formed a part of the landscape in the valleys of Piura and Chira, as well as other parts of the Peruvian coast. Peruvian pima cotton (gossypium barbadense), whose characteristics favor its use in the production of high-quality goods.
Its unique soft handle and luster are the result of the climate and fertile soils of the areas where it is grown. The fiber may reach 42 mm in length and has a fineness between 3,3 and 4,0 microns. It is extraordinarily strong, and can register values between 92,5 and 100 pressley.
These characteristics are obtained through a rigorous selection of seeds, sowing in the appropriate areas, well controlled irrigation, and the blessing of the marvelous Peruvian sunshine. In addition, the cotton is carefully hand picked, forgouing herbicides, so that the best material is selected and anything unwanted can be separated without damaging the delicate fibers.
Thus, Peruvian pima cotton can be blended with other fibers, either natural or synthetic, and successfully dyed, to achieve products of excellent finish which are simultaneously compatible with the conservation of our natural environment.