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Image of Chimú Discontinuous Warp and Weft Textile Fragment with Geometric Design

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unknown Chimú

Chimú Discontinuous Warp and Weft Textile Fragment with Geometric Design

Late Intermediate Period-Late Horizon
1000 - 1476
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: 2000.3.163
Geography: South America, Peru, Andes (Coast)
Classification: Unclassifiable Artifacts; Artifact Remnants; Cloth Fragments
Culture/Nationality: Chimú
Collection: Ward M. Canaday Collection
Description: This intricate textile was made using discontinuous warp and weft, where neither the warp nor the weft travel the entire length of the cloth. Rather, they cross their own color area and turn back on themselves when meeting another color. This is achieved by using special scaffolding sticks or cords to hold the warp yarns in place and positioned at the point where color changes, often in a gridded arrangement (An example of this structure, unwoven, can be seen in the Peabody
Museum, Harvard 73-6-30/7320A). This forms multiple selvaged units within the larger cloth, building on one another to form the often complex pattern. This technique is seen as early as the late phases of the Paracas, around 100 CE. It may have developed out of double cloth, where two sets of warps and wefts interlace, resulting in a visual similar textile as discontinuous warp and weft, but with greater weight and a limited color palette. Due to the intense time needed to execute such a detailed pattern, as well as the fragile nature of cloth made with discontinuous warp and weft, this textile was probably produced especially for the act of ritual, most likely in a funerary setting.

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • blue - Hue name for one of the three primary additive colors; that portion of the spectrum lying between green and violet, with a wavelength of about 420 to 490 nanometers, which is the shortest wavelength range of the three primary colors. The term may refer to any of this group of colors that vary in lightness and saturation. An example of blue color in nature is that of a clear sky during the day.
  • Chimú
  • cotton - Textile made from cotton fiber.
  • frets - Patterns consisting of repeated, linear, geometrical shapes, usually angular, in a continuous band. For similar patterns not confined to a band, especially openwork, use "fretwork."
  • geometric motifs - Design elements with geometrical themes.
  • geometric patterns
  • 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.
  • key pattern - Frets consisting of a relatively continuous series of rectilinear hook shapes, sometimes crossing each other.
  • 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.
  • lozenges - Figures that are squares or rhombuses rotated to have their corners on the horizontal and vertical axes. Common as an isolated motif, in a diaper pattern, or in a running series.
  • meanders - Running ornament consisting of continuous winding lines, either angular or curving. Its name is taken from the river Meander in Turkey (ancient Asia Minor), which twists and turns upon itself like the ornamental motif.
  • 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.
  • wave pattern - Decorative pattern consisting of wavy lines or other series of generally wavelike forms. For the specific running patterns of successive, connected spirals, use "wave scrolls."
  • wave scrolls - Running patterns consisting of a series of simple scrolls, each spiralling out from the center of the preceding one. For patterns consisting of wavy lines or other series of generally wavelike forms, use "wave pattern."
  • 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 2000.3.163_BMC_a.pdf
Additional Image 2000.3.163_IRRFC.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.163_MBRI.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.163_VIS_photoflood_Hoya.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.163_BMC_f.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.163_BMC_d.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.163_BMC_d_2.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.163_BMC_d_3.jpg
Additional Image 2000.3.163_BMC_f_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

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:
  • "Museum of Fine Arts Boston: Online Collections." (Accessed July 1, 2020): Accession No.: 42.444a.

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.

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 Geometric Design |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=5/28/2023 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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