Tunic or Unku
Arts of the Americas
The Inca considered textiles more valuable than precious metals or gems. Textiles were symbols of power; clothing styles and designs identified a wearer’s social status. Rulers wore the finest tapestry-weave garments, called cumbi, such as the tunic displayed here. The unusual vicuña fringe on this tunic may have been added later.
In order to guarantee a supply of fine textiles, the Inca expanded herding and textile production into a state policy, setting up weaving workshops and collecting labor taxes in the form of woven garments.
Camelid fiber, vincuna fringe
Middle Horizon Period
This item is not on view
Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund
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Inca. Tunic or Unku, 1400-1532. Camelid fiber, vincuna fringe, 35 7/16 x 31 1/8 in. (90 x 79 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 41.1275.106. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.41.1275.106.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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