Mummy Bundle "Mask"

Mummy Bundle "Mask"

400-200 BC

Cotton and pigment, plain weave

Overall: 103.5 x 40 cm (40 3/4 x 15 3/4 in.)

The Norweb Collection 1940.521


Fun Fact

These masks fall into two categories, those with only a face and those with a full-bodied figure.


The Paracas people of Peru's South Coast buried their dead in pear-shaped mummy bundles made of a seated human body carefully wrapped in garments and other textiles. Sometimes a painted cloth was placed at the top of the bundle, as though it served as the bundle's face, head, or "mask." The cloth was padded on the back so it curved outward like a face, and the tress-like yarns (unwoven warps) at the upper edge were arranged around a solid cotton disk that, in turn, was wrapped with a headband (see photo). Some cloths were painted with mask-like faces, and others with full figures, apparently mythical creatures. A painted mummy bundle "mask" still stitched to cotton padding and attached, via unwoven yarns at the top, to a solid cotton disk around which headbands are wound. Photo of a mask at the Textile Museum (91.857) from Andean Art at Dumbarton Oaks, Fig. 123, Washington, D.C., 1996

See also
T - Pre-Columbian
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
The Norweb Collection

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