Both the quantity and the quality of textiles from the Paracas Necropolis on the south coast of Peru demonstrate that weaving was of paramount importance to the Paracas people. This extraordinary mantle or cloak, made by early Paracas artists, is one of the most renowned Andean textiles in the world. Its small size suggests that it may have been used as an intimate ceremonial object.
The ninety figures decorating the border have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru’s south coast two thousand years ago, with a particular focus on agriculture. Many of the images illustrate native flora and fauna as well as cultivated plants. The order in which figures are repeated has led some scholars to interpret the textile as a lunar calendar. Depictions of costumed figures may represent humans impersonating gods and acting as intermediaries between the real and supernatural worlds. Severed human “trophy” heads are shown as germinating seeds, suggesting the practice of ritual sacrifice and the interconnected cycles of birth and death.
- Culture: Nasca
- Medium: Cotton, camelid fiber
- Place Found: South Coast, Paracas, Peru
- Dates: 100-300
- Period: Early Intermediate
- Dimensions: textile: 58 1/4 x 24 1/2 in. (148 x 62.2 cm) support: 67 1/4 x 33 1/4 in. (170.8 x 84.5 cm)
- Collections: Arts of the Americas
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 38.121
- Credit Line: John Thomas Underwood Memorial Fund
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY-NC
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact email@example.com (charges apply).
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch.
For more information about the Museum’s rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright.
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Caption: Nasca. Mantle, known as The Paracas Textile, Fragments, 100-300. Cotton, camelid fiber, textile: 58 1/4 x 24 1/2 in. (148 x 62.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, John Thomas Underwood Memorial Fund, 38.121. Creative Commons-BY-NC
- Image: overall, 38.121_reference_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
collection: Brooklyn Museum