Peru, Moche, north coast, 1st-7th century
Cotton and camelid fiber, Overall: 40 x 25.4 cm (15 3/4 x 10 in.). John L. Severance Fund 2007.2
These fragments are rare survivors of catastrophic rains that destroyed much of the Moche textile legacy and may have helped to bring about the decline of Moche culture. Each depicts a serpent and a snail beneath a hovering raptorial bird—perhaps a snail kite, a type of hawk named after its favored food. The size of the motifs implies that the original textile was large; a mantle (a shawl-like garment) or a hanging are among the possibilities.
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