X65.8727 Fragment with stepped bird and scroll design

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Fragment with stepped bird and scroll design
Nasca culture, south coast of Peru
Early Intermediate Period (Late Nasca), 500-700 CE
Polychrome-dyed camelid-hair warp and weft (Z-spun, S-plied); discontinuous warp and weft, balanced plain weave
41 x 15 cm
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust. X65.8727.


All color areas have distinct edges. The fragment has all four selvages preserved.

This small unit is woven in discontinuous warp and weft. The curvilinear designs of the bird’s head together with the step and wave pattern – often seen in textiles from the south coast of this period – follow the grid format of the woven cloth. This was perhaps a practice piece made so the artisan could understand how to construct such a complex weaving where each area, including the dark outline composed of only two threads, has its own set of warps and wefts in the appropriate colors: cochineal red, indigo blue, yellow-brown, and white.

Source: Elena Phipps, The Peruvian Four-Selvaged Cloth. Ancient Threads / New Directions. Fowler Museum Textile Series, No. 12, Los Angeles, 2013