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Object Timeline

1962

  • We acquired this object.

2007

2013

2021

  • You found it!

Border (Peru)

This is a border. It is dated 100 BC–100 AD and we acquired it in 1962. Its medium is wool and its technique is cross-knit looping. It is a part of the Textiles department.

These three-dimensional borders of individually worked birds and flowers were likely intended to be worn over mantles during ceremonial processions and used as burial offerings. Caches of bird and flower borders have been excavated in ceramic vessels at the ceremonial center of Cahuachi, the great pyramid complex on the south coast of Peru in the Nasca valley. With its simple repeated imagery of hummingbirds and nectar-filled flowers, this band retains its symbolic power, representing life, fertility, and natural order.
Although the surface has a knitted appearance, these bands were made through a meticulous cross-knit looping process, engaging each loop with a single needle. Precious animal hair yarns from the alpaca or other camelids were dyed with natural colorants, often from plants. To increase the variety of colors, artisans exploited the natural variation in the color of the animal hair, over-dyed their yarns in multiple dye-baths, and plied together yarns of two colors, a technique somewhat rare in the Andes.

This object was donated by Unknown. It is credited Gift of Anonymous Donor in memory of Alexander M. Bing.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 6 x 86 cm (2 3/8 x 33 7/8 in.)

Cite this object as

Border (Peru); wool; H x W: 6 x 86 cm (2 3/8 x 33 7/8 in.); Gift of Anonymous Donor in memory of Alexander M. Bing; 1962-27-16

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

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18444181/ |title=Border (Peru) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=24 October 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>