5 May 2023

What is the Wiphala Flag? – Meaning of the colors of the Wiphala Flag

By Donald

The Wiphala indigenous flag is one of the easiest to recognize in the world, due to its colorful and symmetrical design. In this article, it is explained what is wiphala And what does it represent in the world? In the same way, it talks about what it was created for and how to make said flag correctly. The story of the symbol related to pre-Columbian peoples is also told.

What does the Wiphala Flag mean?

In the world geography, each town has a symbol with which it is distinguished or characterized. In this sense, each country has a distinctive flag that expresses meaning for that specific people. The same is true of other political divisions, organizations, sports teams, social movements, and groups of people such as the indigenous community.

In this way, the Wiphala flag represents a characteristic symbol of various indigenous peoples of South America. It is a flag in the shape of a rectangle, which shows a lots of colors inside. Originally it was the flag of the ancestral Andean peoples, but later it spread to other civilizations. Today it can be seen very frequently in Bolivia, certain places in Colombia and Peru, as well as Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador and Chile.

The word Wiphala is a term that comes from the Aymara language, a dialect spoken by indigenous people in the region. Represents a combination of the word wiphai used as an exclamation to celebrate a triumph or in a ceremony. The second part of the term comes from the expression lapx lapx which simulates the effect of the sound of the wind. Therefore, the aimara can be understood as the pride of the culture of these peoples by waving their symbol.

What was the Wiphala Flag created for?

The reason for which the Wiphala flag was created is not related to a war banner, as is the case with many banners. In this sense, the origin of this symbol dates back to pre-Columbian peoples, where it was not used as a flag. Well, the rectangular banner or square that is raised to wave in the wind is an invention from the old world.

However, the majority of peoples and civilizations of the Andes mountains They had their own symbols. Where, the Inca Empire is the clearest example due to the number of symbols and representations that were discovered from that time. Therefore, the design of the Wiphala was born as a symbology element related to the Pachamama or mother earth.

Some members of the Consejo de Amuatas Indígenas del Tawantinsuyu of Argentina do not describe it as a flag. On the contrary, they say that it is a symbol that represents a set of elements such as the cosmos, the Pachamama, plants, stones, animals and men. However, the main meaning of this color check design is life in harmony.

Likewise, there are other theories that speak of what this symbol was created for. There, they mention that it is a way of representing the Unachawhich is a symbol that shows the colors seen in a rainbow.

When was the Wiphala Flag created?

The exact date on which the design of the Wiphala flag was created is not known. Well, many data on pre-Columbian peoples are still unknown, even from the Inca empire, which is the best known culture of the region. However, there is some evidence that suggests some dates where the symbol already existed.

The oldest known design of the Wiphala dates from the Tiahuanaco culture, which were a town that lived between 1580 a. C. and 1187 d. C, so the range is very large. These peoples used the design on the bags used to store coca, in an extensive territory that includes what is now Bolivia and Peru.

In Gothenburg, the Museum of World Culture owns a cloth displaying the Whupala symbol and is dated to the 11th century. It is a cloth found in the same region of South America in a tomb of a village healer. While, in the Department of La Paz, Bolivia, there are two other examples.

One of them is displayed in a museum, where there are two Whipalas that were painted in a quiru glass. The other is about a painting that is exposed on a large rock. For its part, in Potosí there is another ancient Whipala in the tissues of a Komora.

What are the original peoples of the Wiphala Flag?

Given the evidence presented, it is understood that the origin of the Wiphala goes back to pre-Columbian peoples, since they already existed before the arrival of Columbus. Likewise, the majority of ancient specimens originate from the civilizations that were located in the territory of Bolivia and Peru, but not in the Inca Empire. So, it is possible to affirm that those who used this symbology the most were the peoples of the Tiahuanaca culture.

What do the colors of the Wiphala Flag mean?

The original peoples of the Andes Mountains used a design with many squares, like a chessboard. Currently, the flag shows 7 colors distributed in 49 different sections. Each of the colors has a special meaning for the inhabitants of these towns.

  • Red: Related to the Pachamama, the children of the earth and the root of the ancestors. Also with cultural evolution and contact with the cosmos.
  • Yellow: Symbol of the Nunaq, which is an ancestral spirit, in addition to the four virtues of men originating from these towns, love, wisdom, work and creativity.
  • Orange: It is the oral memory of their culture, the schools of knowledge and traditions.
  • Blanco: Presents the evolution of the Aymara indigenous people, the science they acquired and intellectual growth.
  • Green: It is the color of the allamama or nature, is exposed in honor of work in the fields and the fruits that the earth gives. In the same way, it symbolizes its economy, in addition to its abundance in minerals and food.
  • Violet: Represents several of the most representative towns, also communities and regions. Such as the Ayllus, the Inka, the Llajtas and the Markas. It is also related to the current political power they hold.

How to make the Wiphala Flag?

If you are looking for how to make the Whipala flag, you should know that it is one of the most difficult there is, due to the geometry it presents. In the same way, you must remember the exact place where each color is located so as not to do it differently. However, the best way to make the flag is by cutting a white rectangle, but the measure 15:15 is suggested.

Then, you must draw 49 rhombuses in an ascending scale, that is, start with a rhombus at the left end and add one in each strip until you reach 7. Then, begin to draw rhombuses in a regressive manner until only 1 remains on the right tip. The first one on the left is yellow, followed by two oranges, three reds, four violets and five blues and six greens. The strip in the middle (it has 7) is white and there begins the return, six yellow, five orange, four red, three purple, two blue and one green.