Arpilleras: Information and History

Items can be limited in supply at times; in general if, on any of the larger images of the items, we are showing a Code followed by a * we do have some of those still in stock. But please always ask.

A: square arpillera decorations with themes such as are described lower down this page.
Approx. 19″ x 19″ / 48cm x 48 cm

o00o £60.00 o00o
AN: square arpillera decorations with a colourful ‘Noah’s Ark’ theme.
Approx. 19″ x 19″ / 48 cm x 48 cm

AL / ALS: two styles of rectangular arpillera hanging wall-decorations, with pockets for holding light objects, and with themes such as are described lower down this page.

AL: Longer: Approx. 13″ wide x 28″ long / 33 cm. wide x 71 cm. long. Three pockets.

ALS: Shorter: Approx. 8″ wide x 18″ long / 20 cm. x 46 cm. Two pockets.

Longer version £60.00

Shorter version

AL: Arpillera rounded shoulder bags with strap and zip fastener. Choice of colours as shown with design on front and plain on reverse side.
Approx. 10″ wide x 9″ high; 26cm. x 23cm.

AP: Arpillera pencil cases, with a different design each side. Zip fastener.
Approx. 10″ wide x 5″ high / 25cm. x 13cm.


To purchase – or order if necessary- these crafts items, please first enquire by email about availability and price, quoting reference number [e.g A 1] and indicating the quantity sought for each item.

A short history of Arpilleras

Arpilleras, exquisitely detailed hand-sewn, ‘appliqué’, and often three dimensional textile pictures, illustrate the stories of the lives of the women of the shanty-towns of Lima, Peru and often imaginative images of the regions from which they or their families have migrated. They can provide essential income for the families. 

Arpilleras originated in Chile, where women political prisoners who were held during the Pinochet regime first used them to camouflage notes sent to families and supporters outside but later just sent a political message. The images below illustrate some ‘real life’ Chilean community settings.

Contemporary arpilleras in Peru, on the other hand, reflect less political themes. These arpilleras tell the stories of life: stories of planting and harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, grapes, corn; stories of spinning and weaving wool; stories of country life, of tending llamas, sheep and goats; other imaginitive animals; stories of weddings and fiestas, and generally recalling the parts of the country from which the women or their families have come. Some have also been produced to represent the Noah’s Ark story.