Pre-Columbian, Peru, Chancay culture, ca. 1300 to 1470 CE. A huge, colorful textile, made of cotton and camelid fibers, and decorated with six panels: two hummingbird gods, one front-facing lord figure, two panels of crouched jaguar-like figures, and a feather-headdressed attendant, holding a weapon. Each figure is within a border, most of them delineated by repeated triangles. Each figure has a similar face, with large, round, white eyes, marked by a black dot to delineate the pupil. The figures clearly follow a set iconographic pattern, with the jaguars and hummingbirds nearly identical in form. Size: 30.5" W x 28.5" H (77.5 cm x 72.4 cm); size of custom frame: 38.75" W x 39" H (98.4 cm x 99.1 cm)
The people of the early cultures in the Andes buried their dead in bundles with woven textiles like this. These often have repetitive, almost fractal patterns, often placed inside of frames, and with color sequences designed to make the viewer look across them diagonally. The red color is probably from cochineal, a bright red insect, while the yellow and white would have come from various plants. The dry, cold climate of the Andes preserved these textiles. As time went on, their designs changed - from ca. 1300 CE onward, motifs began to emphasize anthropomorphic figures rather than geometric abstractions. The iconography of these textiles remains unclear, but some scholars have advanced the theory that figures shown face on (like the one at the top of the strip) are gods and figures shown in profile (as in the bottom left facing) are their attendants. This particular example is in better condition than many held by museums!
Provenance: ex-private Sneed collection, Florida, USA; ex-private Palm Beach, Florida, USA collection, acquired in the 1980s
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Incredible level of preservation. Colors are only slightly faded. This piece has not been examined outside of frame, but it appears to be in overall excellent condition.