Andean Installation: Ceramics, Gold Objects and Textiles.
- Dates: July 1995 through June 1997
- Collections: Arts of the Americas
February 1995: More than 40 masterpieces from The Brooklyn Museum’s outstanding collection of Peruvian art will be installed in the first-floor Great Hall, where they will go on view on March 9. This new presentation of Arts of the Andes will include textiles, ceramics, and gold objects, several of which have never before been on public view. They were created between 300 B.C. and A.D. 800 and represent the Paracas, Nasca, Topará, and Wari cultures of Peru’s south coast.
Textiles were one of the most important art forms in the Andes, used to encode complex cultural messages. Many of the examples in the installation relate to the Necrópolis cemetery, where between 200 B.C. and A.D. 200, more than 400 mummy bundles were buried in the desert sands. Included are two vividly colored embroidered mantles, which have not been on public view for decades. One features the repeated image of a condor, the other is embroidered with geometric depictions of a cat.
Among the ceramics displayed are a group of superb examples of the early Nasca style, characterized by relatively simple compositions and naturalistic depictions of life forms native to the south coast. Although they were not found in the Necrópolis, they represent aspects of cultural interaction and change occurring when the City of the Dead was created. Examples of Paracas and Topará ceramics are also on view, among them a large Paracas jar created sometime between 300 B.C. and A.D. 1 that features a grotesque figure holding a human head, indicating connection to a trophy head cult that became widespread during late Paracas times.
Also on view is a group of five hammered-gold, Nasca-style ornaments, including a complex winged object that may have served as a headdress ornament or as a wand during ceremonial occasions.
The preservation and installation of the Museum’s Andean textile collections were made possible by a generous grant from the Selz Foundation. Support for the renovation and reinstallation of The Arts of the Andes was provided by the Selz Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
New installations of The Brooklyn Museum’s collections of African and Pacific art are also scheduled to open on March 9.