Ancient Andean Textiles
The textiles in the current rotation from the permanent collection represent several different civilizations that flourished in the ancient Andes, today Peru and parts of adjacent countries. Though unrelated by cultural affiliation, they are unified by being special in some way, whether through rarity, complexity of execution, or luxuriousness of materials. The centerpiece of the display is a unique cloth that experts regard as one of the greatest paintings to survive from South American antiquity. One of the museum’s masterpieces, it was created by an artist of the Nasca culture (100 BC–AD 650) and depicts a procession of figures who may represent humans dressed in the guises of supernatural beings thought to control nature’s fertility. Other textiles in the rotation include a panel covered in the radiant feathers of the blue-and-yellow macaw, made by artists of the Wari Empire (600–1000), and several fragments that are rare survivors of catastrophic rains that destroyed much of the Moche culture’s (AD 200–850) textile legacy.