Exhibitions: Living Legacies: The Arts of the Americas

Miniature Tunic. Peru. A.D. 500–800. Cotton and camelid fiber. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, The Guennol Collection, 71.180

A virtuoso piece of tapestry weaving, with over eighty threads per square centimeter (most tapestries of this period have about forty-five), this miniature shirt was undoubtedly a ritual or funerary offering. It is likely made of vicuña fiber, the finest fleece used by Andean weavers. The staff-bearing figures resemble relief carvings on the Gateway of the Sun at the archaeological site of Tiwanaku in Bolivia, illustrating the influence of Tiwanaku imagery on the slightly later Wari style.

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