Exhibitions: Living Legacies: The Arts of the Americas

Weaver's Work Basket with Spindles

Weaver's Work Basket with Spindles. Central Coast, Peru. a.d. 1000–1476. Totora reed, cane, wood, clay, camelid and cotton fiber. Gift of Dr. John H. Finney, Basket: 36.755.1. Spindles: 36.755.3; .5; .6; .13; .26; .39; .40; .45; .52; .55; and .57

Ancient Andean weaving tools and materials were simple; weavers relied on their hands and imaginations to create complex textiles. A weaver's tools, such as the spindles found in this work basket, were buried with their owner, demonstrating the importance of weaving and its centrality to social identity. Andean weavers used two main fibers to make yarn: cotton, which was cultivated most extensively in warm coastal valleys; and the silken hair of llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas, species that are unique to the highlands of South America.