Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog number 2003.10.2
Title Chavin painted textile section of a tunic
Object Name Textile
Description Chavin painted textile section of a tunic, depicts a proto-typical staff bearing figure with fanged mouth and claws visible on the hands and feet, serpents form his staff and hang from his crown, the headband is decorated with a bean motif.
A Chavin style fragment with painted images, provides some insight regarding the nature of this cultural exchange. The textile, dating from ca. 400 B.C.E., would likely have been worn by a male of high social standing. The fragment comes from the site of Karwa, located in the south coast of Peru. Some of the earliest remains of cultivated cotton, dating from about 3,500-3,000 B.C.E., were actually discovered in the central coast of Peru and Ecuador, not far from the geographical origin of this artifact. A breathable, lightweight fiber, cotton was the material of choice for coastal weavers because it was the only cultivatable textile plant, since llama and alpaca can only survive in the highlands. The garment was probably woven on a backstrap loom, the simplest type of loom for creating small-scale textiles. At one end of the loom, the warp threads (the immobile "scaffold" threads) , are attached to a pole secured to a tree or a post. At the other end, a second pole is stretched tight by a strap that wraps around the weaver's back. Ethnographic evidence suggests that this was a skill performed predominantly by women, although it is entirely possible that specialized male weavers could have existed as well.*
* Ananda Suarez Cohen, "Early Textiles Traditions of South Coastal Peru," in "Natural and Supernatural: Andean Textiles and Material Culture," (G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, September 8 - October 24, 2009), 13.
Medium/Material Pigment on natural cotton
Dimensions W-9.25 L-18.25 inches
Year Range from 1000
Year Range to 400
Search Terms Pre-Columbian
South America
5th century BC
6th century BC
7th century BC
8th century BC
9th century BC
10th century BC
Exhibition and Publication History * Amy Winter, ed. "Natural and Supernatural: Andean Textiles and Material Culture," ex. cat. G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, September 8 - October 24, 2009.
Culture Chavin/Peruvian