Textile Fragment from Chancay People, Peru
This archaeological textile originated from the Chancay people, an indigenous group that occupied territory in the central coast of current-day Peru from 1000-1470 CE. A complex tapestry consisting of repeating colored squares containing a Pelican motif and a fringed edge, the weave structure is a combination of interlocking and slit tapestry techniques common in Chancay textiles. Two different fibers were used in the construction of this piece, cotton and camelid hair, mostly likely from alpaca. The cotton fibers had a natural coloration, yielding the tan and golden hued squares in the tapestry. The camelid fibers are seen in the white, black and red yarns, with the red produced through dyeing with cochineal. An interesting feature of this object is that only one of the background squares is red, drawing the attention of the eye to this area.
The information received from the donor included this statement: “Received from a Peace Corps Volunteer at UC Davis, CA who sold several artifacts (textiles) to raise funds to cover plane fare, in the early ‘70s.”