Peruvian women are easily distinguished from other South American ethnic groups by their bright and beautifully decorated hats. Peruvian traditional clothing, in general, is colorful and unique, but these hats add some cheerful vibe even to this eye-catching outfit. So, let’s find out what the montera hats are made of, how they are embellished and why, and what they show about the owner. These headdresses really look like bowls of flowers attached to women’s heads – so cute!
The traditional Peruvian headgear of Quechua people is called “montera”. It is worn by Andean women. There is a huge variety of designs, according to the region. Some hats are smaller and others are pretty large, some are flat and others are curved, some are adorned with flowers and even fruits and others are just embellished with embroidery. But no matter how a montera looks like, you’ll always recognize it among dozens of other headdresses.
Some designs of a montera date back to the 15th century and the Incan heritage. This round shape of the hat represents the sun, which Incas worshiped.
Usually, the hat is made from red or pink felt. The crown is richly embellished with fresh or artificial flowers, ribbons, lace, embroidery, sequins, beading, fresh fruits, fringe, tassels, etc. These headpieces are definitely a sight to behold.
The hat is always colorful. The most widespread colors are red, pink, black, and yellow.
Depending on the style, design, color palette, shape, and other features (like the way a hat is worn), a native can usually say a lot about the owner. First of all, the region of origin, marital status, and social status. But probably, this list can be prolonged.
Another typical feature of a montera hat is a chinstrap called “sanq’apa”. It isn’t always present, but it can tell a lot about the owner as well. For example, the amount of beading indicates a woman’s social status. The majority of beads traditionally are white and they may cover the entire strap – if a woman has a high status, obviously.
The Peruvian montera hat is an outstanding accessory, authentic to these people. And such a headdress is not only a part of the Peruvian ancient heritage but also a very beautiful garment that really suits the local women perfectly.