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Peruvian Textiles

DATES February 07, 1941 through March 16, 1941
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  • February 6, 1941 Peruvian textiles from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection that have not been publicly exhibited before are arranged in a special exhibition at the Museum, opening Friday, February 7, and continuing through March 16. The exhibition is staged at this time to meet the demand due to the wide current interest among textile designers and manufacturers in examples of Peruvian work.

    A large part of the Museum’s collection is from Paracas, and was excavated from a single deep-shaft grave, with ten or twelve burials at it base, by a squadron of soldiers during the troublous times which followed the overthrow of Leguia in 1930.

    The exhibition is a survey of Peruvian techniques in the textile field, and is made up of costumes, parts of costumes, fragments, several early small looms, and large unusual examples, including mantles, from Paracas, Nasca, Ica, Casma, Supe, Ancon, and Tiahuanaco.

    The Peruvians were some of the most expert textile weavers of ancient times, and used complicated and elaborate motifs which they worked out in patterns in a masterful manner. The techniques shown in the exhibition are tapestry weave, brocade, double cloth, embroidery, lace, printed cloth, velvet, needle knitting and netting.

    Paracas, the name given to an arid headland protecting the harbor of Pisco from the southwest, lca and Nasca, somewhat farther inland and elevations, have yielded very rich funeral art which was first brought to light about a generation ago. It differed considerably in style and subject matter from the remains found at the great Necropolis of Ancon on the coast above Gallao.

    Although many remarkable techniques of construction and ornament are illustrated in the textiles and costumes of this southern region, embroidery predominates rather than the tapestry weave. It has vivid coloring and intricate compositions of monster motives which combine the jaguar, the centipede, the condor and the killer whale. The art as a whole owes much to that of ancient Tiahuanaco on the highlands of Lake Titicaca. Three inter-related styles or stages are named after Paracas, Nasca and Ica; the first is formative, the second culminative and the third decadent.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 01-03/1941, 032.
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