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Chimú Discontinuous Warp and Weft Textile Fragment with Bird Imagery

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unknown Chimú

Chimú Discontinuous Warp and Weft Textile Fragment with Bird Imagery

Late Intermediate Period - Late Horizon
1000 - 1534
Cotton fiber

19 11/16 x 12 13/16 x 1/16 in. (50 x 32.5 x 0.2 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 2000.3.76
Geography: South America, Peru, Andes (Coast)
Classification: Unclassifiable Artifacts; Artifact Remnants; Cloth Fragments
Culture/Nationality: Chimú, Peruvian, Latin American, South American
Collection: Ward M. Canaday Collection
Description: Discontinuous warp and weft lends itself particularly well to geometric patterning. This fragment, with its incredibly complex structure, exhibits overall themes of interlocking geometric pattern and the repetition of motif. The design is entirely composed of geometric blocks of an individual, solid color, made possible by the use of discontinuous warp and weft. Each is set together to form a complete motif, here a geometrically abstracted animal, predominantly a bird. Though primarily identifiable as a bird, we can understand these motifs as composite figures, representing multiple creatures and symbols at once, a common visual tool in Andean visual culture. It takes a trained eye to see each element individually, hinting at the communicative power of textiles and the level of understanding the Chimú would need to have to interpret these visual cues.

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • Animalia - Kingdom containing multicellular organisms having cells bound by a plasma membrane and organized into tissue and specialized tissue systems that permit them to either move about in search of food or to draw food toward themselves. Unable to make their own food within themselves, as photosynthetic plants do, they rely on consuming preformed food. They possess a nervous system with sensory and motor nerves, enabling them to receive environmental stimuli and to respond with specialized movements.
  • Aves - The class of vertebrate animals that are typically bipedal and warm-blooded, lay large-yolked hardshelled eggs, often arboreal, and possessing feathers, hollow bones, forelimbs adapted for flight (although some have lost the ability to fly) and hindlimbs for perching and locomotion, a four-chambered heart, keen vision, a horny beak without teeth, and a large muscular stomach. Birds arose from theropod dinosaurs, which were an order of carnivorous dinosaurs.
  • checker pattern - A bold geometric pattern of regularly placed alternating squares or lozenges of contrasting colors or textures.
  • Chimú
  • composite animals - General term for legendary or mythical animals that combine features of multiple known animals.
  • cotton - Textile made from cotton fiber.
  • geometric motifs - Design elements with geometrical themes.
  • geometric patterns
  • Late Horizon - The seventh of the seven main chronological phases recognized in Andean archaeology, generally dating 1476-1534 CE, during which the Inca established an empire controlled from Cuzco, which eventually reached from central Chile to southern Colombia. The period ends in 1534, the year marking the fall of the Inca empire after the Spanish conquest.
  • Late Intermediate Period - The sixth of the seven main chronological phases recognized in Andean archaeology, generally dating ca. 1000-1450 CE, following the collapse of Middle Horizon empires, including Tiahuanaco and Huari. During this time distinctive regional cultures emerged along the coast and in highland areas, including the Chimú empire. The political entities that developed during the late Intermediate Period were subsequently conquered by the Inca empire.
  • Pelecanus - Members of a genus containing eight living species of water birds distinguished by their large, elastic throat pouches. Pelicans inhabit lakes, rivers, and seacoasts in many parts of the world. They were symbols of renewed life in the Judeo-Christian stories and other folklore, due to the belief that the pelican revives or feeds its young with its own blood, which was a misconception arising from the red tip on the beak of some species.
  • Peruvian - Of or belonging to the nation of Peru or its people.
  • repetition - As an artistic concept, the characteristic within a composition where a form, line, color, or other compositional element is repeated to cause unity or for another purpose.
  • textiles - General term for carpets, fabrics, costume, or other works made of textile materials, which are natural or synthetic fibers created by weaving, felting, knotting, twining, or otherwise processing. For works of art or high craft that employ textile as a medium, prefer "textile art (visual works)."
  • warp - In weaving, the threads that are extended lengthwise in the loom, usually twisted harder than the "weft," with which these threads are crossed to form the web or piece.
  • weft - The aggregate of transverse strands of a textile, woven through the warp. Specifically for individual strands of weft, prefer "picks (weft)."

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image 2000.3.76_BMC_a.pdf
Additional Image 2000.3.76_BMC_f_2.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.76_BMC_d.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.76_BMC_d_2.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.76_BMC_d_3.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.76_BMC_d_4.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.76_BMC_f.jpg

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:
  • Clothed in Meaning: Archaeological Textiles from the Ancient Andes Bryn Mawr College , Mar 1, 2002 – Mar 29, 2002

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Elena Phipps, The Peruvian Four-Selvaged Cloth (Los Angeles, CA: The Fowler Museum at UCLA, 2013), 58-63.
  • Elena Phipps and Ann Peters. Pre-Columbian Textile Conference VII (Lincoln, NE: Zea Books, 2017), 171-173.
  • William J. Conklin, "Structure as Meaning in Andean Textiles." Chungara: Revista de Antropología Chilena 29, no. 1 (1997): 109-131.
  • Penelope Dransart, Textiles, Technical Practice and Power in the Andes (London, England: Archetype Publications, 2013), 220-222.

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

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

<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Chimú Discontinuous Warp and Weft Textile Fragment with Bird Imagery |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=5/28/2023 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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