Pre-Columbian, Peru, Lurin Valley, Pachacamac culture, ca. 11th to 16th century CE. A wondrous textile panel comprised of tightly woven natural cotton fibers in a bi-chrome red-and-beige chromatic schema. Displayed across the panel is a highly abstract set of mirrored dragons, each with four laterally projecting heads with gaping mouths that flank a central head with titanic jaws, and both sharing a mutual hexagonal central body. Repeating lemniscus motifs adorn the necks and heads of each serpentine projection, and two minimalist avian figures are entrapped within the spaces between each pair of exterior necks. An incredible example of fantastical ancient beasts! Mounted atop a museum-quality display fabric. Size (textile): 21.875" L x 12.625" W (55.6 cm x 32.1 cm); (display fabric): 29.625" L x 20.5" W (75.2 cm x 52.1 cm)
Pachacamac is located on the Peruvian coast approximately 32 kilometers south of Lima. It was a sacred site, as well as an oracle, and place of burial, that pilgrims from numerous ancient Andean cultures visited, including the Incas. Active for more than 2,000 years, this site was named after the god Pacha Kamaq who was worshipped as the "Maker of the Earth" by these coastal peoples and was also associated with powerful earthquakes. According to indigenous mythology, Pachacamac had defeated Con, the rival creator god who as a form of punishment for humankind's evilness had stopped all rainfall. Pachacamac resorted to transforming the human race into animals and subsequently created an entirely new race of men and women. Some versions of the myth tell of the god sending four stars to earth. Two of the stars were male and became kings and nobility. The other two stars were female and became common folk.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-private Hans Juergen Westermann collection, Germany, acquired in the 1950s to 1960s
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This is a fragment of a larger textile composition. Minor loosening and fraying to some interior and peripheral threads, with minor fading and staining to areas of original color, and light creasing, otherwise intact and excellent. Great remains of original iconography and colors throughout.