The Alpaca’s Fleece Was for Royalty
An alpaca fleece was the best textile anyone could ever touch during the Inca period. They are sheared once a year, and the fiber is so delicate and beautiful that only members of royalty or high officials are allowed to wear them. The fibres even have specialized artisans dedicated to weaving into different textiles.
Because of this high regard for the fleece, it was considered an honour for a commoner to receive gifts from alpaca fleece. Raising alpacas was a worthwhile livelihood even during the Inca civilization.
Alpacas Have Religious and Social Significance
The alpacas were highly valued animals by the Incas, and it was outlawed to hunt them. Yes, they did eat alpacas back then but only during religious and social ceremonies. Incas usually consumed alpaca meat fresh with traditional preparations. And people utilized every part of the alpaca well, including the bones, fat, and organs. These were used in various applications like footwear, musical instruments, medicines, and fertilizer.
During ritual sacrifices, Incas use the alpaca as the animal sacrifice of choice, believing their gods would be pleased when offered such a wonderful animal.
Alpacas are Beloved Companions
Alpacas aren’t just livestock to the Incas. They are daily companions cared for by families. The best evidence of the Incas’ high regard for their alpacas was during the Spanish inquisition; The Spanish occupants only saw alpacas as food and were hunted down almost to extinction by the Spaniards. With the Incas driven away by the inquisition, they brought their alpacas to the remote regions, where they continued to breed them back to safe numbers. The Incas didn’t give in to the economic demand for alpaca meat but instead risked treating them as their treasured companions.
The world’s growing love for alpacas shows the value the Incas saw many years ago. The utility, beauty, and happiness that alpacas have returned to the Incas have spread worldwide. South America is still the leading producer of alpaca fibres, but the US and Canada are learning to build alpaca farms.
You can check it out and fall in love with the adorable alpacas in Peru. They are farms and villages that offer tours with the people’s favourite animals.