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Discontinuous Warp and Weft Textile Fragment with Geometric Design

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unknown Peruvian

Discontinuous Warp and Weft Textile Fragment with Geometric Design

after 100 - before 1530
Camelid fiber

19 3/4 x 13 x 1/16 in. (50.2 x 33 x 0.2 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 2000.3.164
Geography: South America, Peru, Andes
Classification: Unclassifiable Artifacts; Artifact Remnants; Cloth Fragments
Collection: Ward M. Canaday Collection
Description: This fragment is part of a complex pattern composed of abstracted, composite figures. The central yellow motif is likely representative of a human form, in combination with other animalistic forms. This intricate patterning is suggestive of ritualistic connotations. Andean ritual textiles were an extremely important means of communication, not only through their imagery and color, but also through the languages of structure and technique. Discontinuous warp and weft is one of the most structurally complex weaving techniques employed by pre-Hispanic Andean civilizations. Weaving with a continuous warp makes a stronger cloth, and is easiest to produce. Discontinuous warp and weft is a time consuming and intensely complex method, requiring temporary scaffolds to be stretched across the loom to hold the intersection of one color warp and the next until all colors are connected. The more intricate the design, the more color changes necessary, and thus the more scaffolds needed. Discontinuous warp and weft achieved a contradiction—solid, rich colors in a lightweight cloth.

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • camelid hair - Material made from the hair of camelids, especially South American camelids such as llama and alpaca. For fiber made from camels, use "camel hair."
  • discontinuous
  • figure-derived form attributes - Characteristics and qualities of form, that are figure-derived.
  • geometric motifs - Design elements with geometrical themes.
  • geometric patterns
  • geometric shape - Shape characterized by regular shapes or patterns that are determined, constructed, or formed according to geometry.
  • indigo - A natural dark blue colorant obtained from the tropical Indigofera tinctoria plants. The use of indigo was first mentioned in Indian manuscripts in the 4th century BCE; it was first exported to Europe in Roman times. The natural material is collected as a precipitate from a fermented solution of the plant, where the coloring component, indigotin, is extracted as a colorless glycoside that turns blue with oxidation. Indigo is a fine, intense powder which may be used directly as a pigment in oil, tempera, or watercolor media. Since the exposed pigment can fade rapidly in strong sunlight, it is rarely used in art or fine textiles today. However, it is still used to dye jeans, where its fading and uneven coloring have become favorable characteristics.
  • Peruvian - Of or belonging to the nation of Peru or its people.
  • red - Hue name for one of the three primary additive colors; that portion of the spectrum lying at the lowest frequencies of light discernible by the human eye, with a wavelength range between 630 and 760 nanometers. The term may refer to any of this group of colors that vary in lightness and saturation. Examples of red color in nature are that of blood and ripe cherries.
  • 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.
  • South American - Refers to the cultures of the continent of South America, which is bounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Central America, and the Antarctic region.
  • 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)."
  • yellow - Hue name for one of the three primary subtractive colors. Represents that portion of the spectrum lying between green and orange, with a wavelength range between 565 and 590 nanometers. The term may refer to any of this group of colors that vary in lightness and saturation. Examples of yellow color in nature are that of a ripe lemon and the yolk of an egg.

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image 2000.3.164_BMC_a.pdf
Additional Image 2000.3.164_BMC_f.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.164_BMC_d.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.164_BMC_d_2.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

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

<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Discontinuous Warp and Weft Textile Fragment with Geometric Design |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=4/2/2023 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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