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Cotton; plain weave, brocaded and complex alternating gauze with 5 shots of plain weave between gauze shots
Overall: 139.7 x 139.7 cm (55 x 55 in.)
Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 2005.5.3
This textile and the adjacent loincloth belong to a phenomenal matched set of five textiles recently acquired by the museum. The others—not on display—are a large hat, a tasseled band, and a huge rectangular cloth (nearly 5 x 9 feet) that may have served as a hanging or a mantle (shawl-like garment). All are made of white cotton miraculously hand-spun into gossamer yarns only 0.1 to 0.2 millimeters in diameter. And all reveal a great love of differing textures, some heavy and sculptural and others as ethereal as a sigh. This textile was probably used as a turban. The folded, plain, central section would have been wrapped around the head and tied in place, with the decorated panels hanging down the back or to the side. The turban and the other textiles of the set were most likely used by a high-ranking lord of the Chimú empire, which, after about 1200, controlled much of Peru’s desert north coast.
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