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Vibrant Ica / Wari Textile Neck Piece

Pre-Columbian, Peru, Huari (Wari) culture, ca. 500 to 1000 CE. A brightly-colored textile fragment, a neck piece, designed to dangle from the front of clothing. It shows a human head and twin rows of yellow, brown, pink, and red/dark pink fringes, terminating in two long fringes of the red/dark pink color. This matches to the color of the figure's clothing and hat. Mounted on a black background. Size: 19" L (48.3 cm)

The Huari, from their large urban center north of modern day Ayacucho, colonized a diverse group of people in the Andes. Part of the evidence for their colonization efforts - beyond the standardized architecture throughout their empire - is the presence of iconographically similar textiles in burials throughout the region. Human heads with distinctive facial decoration and caps are a common motif; this may relate to the use of human heads as trophy objects, or perhaps for the veneration of ancestors, a common theme on Huari (and other Peruvian) ceramics. Some have suggested that the wearing of certain types of motifs or textile items in life (because the textiles the Huari are buried with seem to have been worn by the living before they were used in burial) showed rank in the complex imperial structure that the Huari created.

Condition: The piece is fragile, but colors are bright and, aside from some fraying at the top of the figure's head, it seems to be in excellent condition.

Provenance: Ex-Slavin Collection, acquired in Peru & Bolivia, 1971-1972

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