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Arts of the Americas

Tapestries, rugs, and rich fabrics were among the most valuable goods in early colonial households, second only to jewels and precious objects in gold and silver. The private market for these textiles was stimulated once Europeans realized such works’ importance in pre-Columbian cultures.

The sixteenth-century Peruvian tapestry at the left features both European and indigenous motifs, including a spotted dog (a symbol of the Dominican order) in the central field and animals from the Peruvian ornamental repertoire, such as snakes, viscachas (Andean rodents), rabbits, and birds. Native and non-native motifs were also combined in later colonial examples, such as the tapestry at the right from Cajamarca with a mermaid, a European element that was very popular in Peru, surrounded by Andean animals.

Los tapices, alfombras y ricas telas se contaban entre los bienes más valiosos de las casas del periodo colonial temprano, luego de las joyas y objetos preciosos de oro y plata. El mercado privado para estos textiles se vio estimulado cuando los europeos se percataron de su valor para las culturas precolombinas.

El tapiz peruano del siglo XVI presentado a la izquierda incluye motivos tanto europeos como indígenas; entre ellos destacan un perro moteado (símbolo de la orden Dominicana) en el campo central y animales del repertorio ornamental peruano, tales como serpientes, vizcachas (roedores andinos), conejos y pájaros. Motivos nativos y europeos también se combinan en ejemplos coloniales posteriores, como en este tapiz de Cajamarca presentado a la derecha en el que una sirena, elemento europeo muy popular en el Perú, aparece en el centro rodeada por animales andinos.
MEDIUM Camelid fiber and cotton
DATES late 16th century
PERIOD Colonial Period
DIMENSIONS 92 x 84 9/16 in. (233.7 x 214.8 cm) storage (supporting tube length circa 2017): 96 in. (243.8 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Tapestry, late 16th century. Camelid fiber and cotton, 92 x 84 9/16 in. (233.7 x 214.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, 40.134. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 40.134_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 40.134_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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