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Miniature Mantle

Arts of the Americas

Inca weavers produced high-quality miniature textiles to adorn male and female gold and silver figurines that were buried as offerings during important religious ceremonies, such as the capacocha, a sacred Inca ritual that took place on mountains, islands, and other revered places called wakas (see photograph).

The textiles displayed here are female garments, and they have the same form and decoration as the full-size examples made for the Inca elite. Notice a variant of the Inca key motif (a repeating pattern of diagonal bars and squares) on the red mantle with a central black band that is also featured on one of the full-size tunics. The miniature garments employ the typical Inca colors of red, green, yellow, and black, and are finished with embroidered edges.

The discovery of well-preserved textile assemblages on devotional figurines has expanded our knowledge of Inca women’s dress and its various components.


Los tejedores incas producieron textiles miniatura de alta calidad para decorar estatuillas masculinas y femeninas de oro y plata, que eran enterradas como ofrendas durante importantes ceremonias religiosas, como la capacocha, un sagrado ritual inca que se lleva acabo en montañas, islas y otros lugares sagrados llamados wakas (ver fotografía).

Los textiles que aquí se exhiben son prendas de vestir femeninas, y tienen la misma forma y decorado que los ejemplares de tamaño regular hechos para la élite inca. Nótese una variante en el motivo de la llave inca (un diseño de barras diagonales y cuadrados que se repite) sobre la manta roja con una banda negra central, que también está presente en una de las túnicas de tamaño regular. Las prendas de vestir miniaturas utilizan los colores típicos de los incas –rojo, verde, amarillo y negro- y son terminados con bordados en los bordes.

El descubrimiento de ensamblajes textiles bien preservados sobre estatuillas de devoción ha expandido nuestro conocimiento de los vestidos de las mujeres incas y sus varios componentes.
CULTURES Inca or Arica
MEDIUM Camelid fiber
DATES 1400–1532
PERIOD Pre-Columbian Period
DIMENSIONS 9 7/16 x 10 5/8 in. (24 x 27 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Size: miniature. Probable wearer: female. Vertical camelid fiber warp. Camelid fiber weft. Camelid fiber crossed looping and other embellishment. Weft-faced plain weave with bands of complementary weft, float weave (reversible).
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Inca. Miniature Mantle, 1400–1532. Camelid fiber, 9 7/16 x 10 5/8 in. (24 x 27 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 41.1275.107. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 41.1275.107_41.1275.110_41.1275.108a_41.1275.108b.jpg)
IMAGE group, 41.1275.107_41.1275.110_41.1275.108a_41.1275.108b.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Inca. <em>Miniature Mantle</em>, 1400–1532. Camelid fiber, 9 7/16 x 10 5/8 in. (24 x 27 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 41.1275.107. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 41.1275.107_41.1275.110_41.1275.108a_41.1275.108b.jpg)