Qom Community Rugs and Tapestries

100 % wool handcrafted rugs, tapestries, and bedside rugs.

The Qom communities, also known as Tobas, are the oldest peoples in the current territory of the Argentinian State of Formosa.
picture of a QOM tapestry
The term Qom derives from the personal pronoun of the first person plural (qomi, qom: people, -i: suffix that pluralizes) and refers to those who speak the same language and share the same cosmology and ways of relating to the environment.

Discovering the Qoms

The Qom People

Qom natives are located in the Northeastern region of Argentina and Southern Paraguay.

They live in small communities formed by a few families with their customs and habits.

They are gatherers and hunters, although migration to urban areas and climate change have forced them to change their habits and livelihoods.

Until the beginning of 2018, many communities lived on the banks of the Pilcomayo River.

After a great flood, they were forced to migrate to the highlands, where they have currently settled.

Nowadays, The main source of genuine work for women is the elaboration of handicrafts.

image of south american map
Qom communities habitat.
picture of The Qom community attending Sunday service.
The Qom community attending Sunday service.

The Work

Most of the Qom women are weavers.

The weaving process begins with the elaboration of the design and the choice of colors.

Before starting, like any artistic creation, the artisans create the design and define the color palette.

It should be noted that despite the complexity of the designs, they do not often base their work on sketches or drawings.

The yarn is made by hand by stripping the wool to obtain the strands and then joining the strands together (twisting them in pairs) to form the yarn.

This is Saturnina knitting at the vertical loom.
This is Juana Rivero stripping the wool.

The designs

In the beginning, each and every design was a story.

The Qoms artisans did not just create design patterns randomly; they followed a perfectly balanced and meaningful order.

The symbols they used were a language and were composed of figures such as diamonds, hexagons, rhombuses, and squares.

Each creation of the ancient artisan told a story about events of their daily life.

This is why they made their pieces by weaving the forms first and then filling in the rest of the tapestry. They told the story first and finished the piece later, a unique method of weaving compared to other traditions that focus on weaving by rows.

Nowadays, understanding that language has been partially lost from generation to generation, but not the key symbols or weaving techniques.

They remain intact for us as a reminder that their creative process is a part of their souls and that their art reflects their dearest ancestral traditions.

This is Cecilia Larrea weaving.

The dye

The dyeing is done mainly with fruits and plants.

All these plants grow wildly in the bushes nearby the Qom settlements.

The collection is done by women and, in some cases, men. Sometimes they travel several kilometers to find the plants.

Qoms artisans obtain the final colors using an ancient technique of extracting dyes from plants like Coviyi, Penagadí, Yerba, Gelvae, Casacaic, and many others.

All these dyes are free from chemical additives or treatments.

The looming work

Highly skilled Qoms artisans following ancient techniques give birth to fantastic pure wool art pieces.

Unlike other communities, they do not use the flat loom but the vertical loom.

A Qom artisan at the vertical loom.

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