Object Record

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Catalog number 2002.7.5
Title Pair of Earflares
Object Name Spool, ear
Description Pair of Earflares, dark brown wood with the frontals covered in aqua feathers in a circular pattern with an 8-pointed star shape in the middle.

One should note the slight difference in patterning between the two ear spools, for such variations reveal the difficulty of maintaining the strict precision in patterning that can be found in other art forms such as ceramics or woven textiles. But what these objects and other examples of feather art may lack in uniformity, they make up for in their remarkable sense of texture and color that cannot be replicated in any other media. Ear spools consist of a round circular disk with a long thick post that is inserted into the ear. They were worn by elite males from the Moche (1-600 C.E.) up through the Incas, serving as one of the principal visible markers of their privileged social status. The featherwork of the ancient Andes remained an uninterrupted artistic tradition for over a millennium, with the production of certain types of feather pieces lasting even after the Spanish conquest of 1534. Feather art remains strong in select Amazonian communities today that continue to use feathers for the creation of ceremonial costumes and other ritual purposes.

Citation: Extract taken from essay by Ananda Cohen Suarez "Featherwork of Ancient Peru," in "Natural and Supernatural: Andean Textiles and Material Culture," (G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, September 8 - October 24, 2009), 24.
Medium/Material Wood, feathers, thread
Dimensions L-4.5 Dia-3.5 inches
Year Range from 1200.0
Year Range to 1400.0
Search Terms Pre-Columbian
Peruvian 1200-1400 AD
South America
13th century AD
14th century AD
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, cat. # 34.
Culture Chimu/Chancay/Peruvian