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Netted Textile (Peru)

This is a Netted textile. It is dated 300–100 BC and we acquired it in 1947. Its medium is maguey fiber and its technique is single element knotted net. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Knotted netting is one of the most ancient methods of constructing textiles, often used for functional objects essential to early cultures, such as bags, snares and nets. Many examples have been found in the middens, or refuse piles, of the Pre-ceramic cultures of the desert coast of Peru. Nets played an essential role in fishing: the Humboldt current, whose cool waters pass parallel to the Peruvian coast, brought an abundance and diversity of sea life which led to the development of some of the earliest maritime cultures in the region.
This small netted piece is composed of vegetal fiber from the stripped leaves of the Furcroya or maguey plant, which is resilient, flexible and strong. Stiff to the touch, the fiber is made pliable in a process that requires separating the long inner fibers from the plants’ thorn-covered fleshy exterior. The variation of the knotting sequence and the incorporation of spaces transform this object from a utilitarian artifact to a work of art.

It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Marie Torrance Hadden.

  • Knotted Chair Chair
  • H x W x D: 70.8 x 53.3 x 63.5 cm (27 7/8 x 21 x 25 in.).
  • Gift of Cappellini.
  • 2008-23-1
  • Quipu (Peru)
  • knotted and twisted cotton fibers.
  • Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian....
  • 15.2012.56

Our curators have highlighted 1 object that are related to this one.

  • Waraji (sandals)
  • hand-woven kibiso.
  • Courtesy of Reiko Sudo and Tsuruoka Fabric Industry Cooperative.
  • 89.2015.3

Its dimensions are

H x W: 7 x 21.6 cm (2 3/4 x 8 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Netted Textile (Peru); maguey fiber; H x W: 7 x 21.6 cm (2 3/4 x 8 1/2 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Marie Torrance Hadden; 1947-31-2

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Netted Textile (Peru) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=30 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>