Ann Pollard Rowe has edited a fascinating volume that traces the evolution of indigenous costume in highland Ecuador from its pre-Columbian origins to the modern era. The book employs diverse sources and interpretive lenses to meet the demands of its broad subject matter and temporal scope, drawing upon early ceramic sculpture, fifteenth- and sixteenth-century textile remains, colonial-era wills and tribute records, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travel accounts and pictorial representations, as well as costume, photographs, oral histories, and ethnographic research from the twentieth century.

In the book’s first chapter, which focuses on Ecuador’s Formative Period (circa 4000 AD) through 1463 (just prior to the Inca conquest), Karen Olsen Bruhns and Ann Pollard Rowe detail the highland Indians’ gradual shift from nudity and body painting to the wearing of loincloths, skirts, and tabards spun from cotton and camelid hair. That highland Indians were prolific...

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