APPARTENANT A DIVERS AMATEURS
Post Lot Text
LATE PARACAS TEXTILE
CA. 200 B.C.-A.D. 100
The tabbed border fragment from a mantle in block color style in covering stem-stitch embroidery in camelid wool, with nine rectangular tabs, each with an exuberant feline-masked figure with supple, bent legs with two pairs of curling snakes emanating from the mouth, and long snake issuing from the back with patterned skin trimmed with spines, each figure alternating in position, woven in saffron, slate blue, red, dark brown, salmon, black and white, with a small fringe extending on the edge.
Textile arts played a pre-eminent role in the indigenous cultures that flowered in western South America before the sixteenth-century European invasions. Thousands of well-preserved examples survive to make up the longest, most complete textile record in the world. It is significant that cotton was grown as early as 3500 B.C. in South America. Yarn itself had symbolic meaning. On his head, the Inca ruler wore not a gold crown but a fringe of red yarn.
The rich story-telling germane to Paracas and early Nazca textiles is reminiscent of the codices of Mesoamerica yet here there is no standardization of deities and myths, instead an abundance of fantastic beings and poses combining the functions of ancestors and nature spirits. It is clear that the layers of garments worn in life, as well as in death, functioned as a ritual language relaying information about the ancient Andean worldview.