Object Name: Tapestry panel
Place of Origin: Peru, north or central coast [?]
Date/Era: Late Intermediate Period, 1150 – 1450 C.E.
Medium/Materials: Crayfish panels: cotton warp (Z-spun, S-plied) and weft (Z-spun) with camelid hair; plain weave with supplementary wefts and weft-faced patterning.
End tapestry panels with figures: light brown cotton warp (Z-spun, S-plied), polychrome camelid-hair weft (Z-spun, S-plied); tapestry weave, slit joins.
Woven edgings: camelid hair; plain weave.
Dimensions: 161 x 112 cm
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Mr. and Mrs Herbert L. Lucas, Jr.
Accession Number: X86.3950
Source: Elena Phipps, The Peruvian Four-Selvaged Cloth. Ancient Threads / New Directions. Fowler Museum Textile Series, No. 12, Los Angeles, 2013
Seven panels are stitched together: all side selvages and some warp selvages are preserved.
Crayfish were depicted on ceramic vessels from the coastal cultures of the Moche in the north and the Nasca in the south as early as the first century CE, although their representation on textiles is rare. This special mantle, made at a later period, is composed of several different types of separately woven panels stitched together. The two red outer panels each show standing figures with bifurcated headdresses. Each figure holds a curled wand in one hand and a stepped object in the other. This same shape is echoed in the specially woven striped edging, physically constructed as small tabs that are made as stepped forms. The three crayfish-design panels repeat the motif following diagonal color bands: when observing the panels together, the alignment of the diagonals appears as a zigzag or a wave pattern. The tapestry weaver created the outlines of the figures with single lines of colored wrapping, an intensive and especially time-consuming technique.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.