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Fragment (Peru)

This is a Fragment. It is dated ca. 600 and we acquired it in 1960. Its medium is wool and its technique is discontinuous and interlocked warps with discontinuous and stitched wefts; tied-resist patterning. It is a part of the Textiles department.

The wild and syncopated play of color and pattern in this tie-dyed textile from ancient Peru seems to counter the meticulous and steadied hand of the Andean weaver. The fabric was in fact specially woven in discreet, stepped-shaped units that were cut apart and re-assembled after being tie-dyed, mixing up the variously dyed sections.
Several examples of complete garments made in this technique, specifically male tunics, have been preserved. They are associated with the Wari culture (ca. 600– 800 AD) and were found in various sites including the Nasca region along the desert coast of Southern Peru. The wearers of these garments must have represented a special sub-group of Wari society—perhaps one whose vision had been impacted by religious rituals involving psychotropic plants. This would explain the sense of visual chaos and play in the patterning, which differs greatly from the high status garments woven in fine tapestry weave that were used by the elite.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Color Play.

  • Sidewall, Tie-Dye
  • hand-dyed and folded japanese paper.
  • Gift of Barbara White.
  • 2000-64-1
This object has not been digitized yet.
  • Textile, Chan Chan
  • cotton.
  • Cowtan and Tout Larsen Archive Collection, Gift of Longhouse Reserve.
  • 2016-32-5

Its dimensions are

H x W: 26.7 x 21.6 cm (10 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Fragment (Peru); wool; H x W: 26.7 x 21.6 cm (10 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.); 1960-33-5

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Fragment (Peru) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=31 January 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>