La tapada limeña - the veiled women of Lima


What is 'La tapada limeña'?
Here's a diary entry about 'La tapada limeña'
from Charles Darwin, dated August 1st 1835:

'There are two things in Lima, which all Travellers have discussed;
the ladies 'tapadas', or concealed in the 'saya y Manta', and fruit called
'Chilimoya'. To my mind the former is as beautiful as the latter is delicious.
The close elastic gown fits the figure closely and obliges the ladies to walk with
small steps which they do very elegantly and display very white silk stockings and
very pretty feet. They wear a black silk veil, which is fixed round the waist behind,
is brought over the head, and held by the hands before the face, allowing only
one eye to remain uncovered. But then that one eye is so black and brilliant
and has such powers of motion and expression, that its effect is very
powerful. Altogether the ladies are so metamorphised; that I at first
felt as much surprised, as if I had been introduced amongst a
number of nice round mermaids, or any other such
beautiful animal. And certainly they are better
worth looking at than all the churches
and buildings in Lima'.

The Chilimoya fruit

A veiled women of Lima

Two of Syms Covington’s watercolours of the ladies
of Lima, showing the costume that captivated Darwin

See more of Sym Convington's sketches, mainly
of national costumes from Peru, ca. 1831-1838 here:
State Library of New South Wales



The women of Lima, Peru would hold the cloak or 'manto'
gracefully to cover their faces, coquettishly leaving one eye
uncovered. Such original attire allowed las limeñas
to go out alone and to start a conversation with
whomever they pleased, without damaging
their dignity (in the degree they
wished to maintain it)

Please go here and read more

Tapada with blue 'saya', , 1850s
by Pancho Fierro (1807-1879)

The long skirt was made of silk and often the
colour was blue, brown, green or black

Tapadas Limeñas (to the left) painted by
Grabado de Rugendas: 'Puente de Piedra'

Detail from 'El Mercado principal de Lima', 1848
by Mauricio Rugendas (1802-58)
(aka Johann Moritz Rugendas)

La Tapada Limeña - Peru The Tapada phenomenon symbolized freedom and independence of the women for three centuries (1560-1850). The cyclope eye allowed women to get in contact with the outside world, taunt, flirt, basically do whatever without staining their reputation.


Sorry, I don't know a lot about the photos,
so 'photos only...'

'Street Scene in Lima', 1844
by Mauricio Rugendas (1802-58)




The use of the silk shawls 'saya y Manta' started from
1560 and continued until well into the nineteenth
century - ca. 1860. Its use was extended for three
centuries or three hundred years

By Pancho Fierro (1807-79), 1840

Two female domestic staff in Spanish Dress,
From: The Costume of the Inhabitants of Peru,
published by J. Edington, London, ca. 1800


Photographed by E. Herbrüger of Panama

Tapadas by Pancho Fierro

 Courret Brothers

Grabado de Rugendas painting
of tapada limeña

A veiled women of Lima

Watercolour by Pancho Fierro, 19th century


Bolha said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing! Intersting phenomenon how culture has spread from one part of the globe to another.

Aputsiaq said...

Thanks for finding me! They are so beautiful - and they facinate me; the tradition is so lovely...and so are their dresses!