Proto Nazca Cape
While the “conquistadors” were looking for gold as the most valuable object in Pre-Columbian Peru, the local cultures were producing arts and crafts in different mediums as well. Beautiful utilitarian textiles created in quite sophisticated methods survived the ravages of time because of the high altitude and dry climate. In most Andean cultures, textiles expressed status and the creativity of the weaver. The Nazca culture lasted from 100 BCE to 800 AD, and from them we see some of the most beautiful examples of woven capes, tunics, and hangings. A distinguishing feature of Nazca textiles is the abstraction of animals, figures, and symbols, and the use of black outlines.
This particular piece is very geometric, but some abstractions of reptiles and other animals can be seen. It was likely a part of a cape or a tunic worn by a man. It is woven in tapestry technique. It is very well preserved and meticulously mounted.
A similar piece was on display at the Fashion and Textiles Museum in London, 2019 exhibit “Weavers of the Clouds, Textile Arts of Peru.”
Circa: 100-800 AD or earlier
Material: Camelid Wool
Condition: Very good
Dimensions: 72" x 23"
Inventory number: TX4952