A hand-woven manta, the most important family textile, is appreciated by every member of the family. Women, men and children use mantas for carrying everything from babies on their backs to fruits or vegetables or firewood.
The manta acts like a flag of the community. Each village takes pride in its distinctive patterns, colors, techniques and layouts. The Chinchero manta is characterized by bands of pattern set off by sections of solid color.
Fine mantas are considered family treasures which define the identity of the wearer. Yet when a visitor calls on an Andean family someone may put a manta on a stone or the ground, a way of saying, “sit and make yourself comfortable.” This practice shows that sharing and hospitality are important values in an Andean community. A family also may offer a visitor, even a stranger, food and drink, or give help in times of trouble.