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Fragment Of Tunic with Felines and Festival Goers


Wari, Middle Horizon
650-800 CE
151 cm x 112 cm x 34.4 cm (59 7/16 in. x 44 1/8 in. x 13 9/16 in.)
wool, cotton
PC.B.501

Not on view


Permalink: http://museum.doaks.org/objects-1/info/23050

Description
Wari weavers produced some of the most striking works of Andean art. They used a complex system of iconographic rules that played with anthropomorphic, zoomorphic and geometric motifs, expanding and contracting shapes to the point where pattern takes precedence over recognizable form. The tunic shown here follows the usual Wari canon of organizing colorful designs into vertical bands that become thinner or more condensed at the edges of the textile than they are in the middle. This creates a sense of changing perspective, so that the person wearing the tunic would appear rounder or fatter than he or she really was. This was a desirable state in the agricultural societies of the Pre-Columbian world, indicating that the person had sufficient wealth or power to secure large quantities of food.

This tunic is unique in eschewing the repetitive geometric designs typical of Wari textiles. Instead, it presents a variety of recognizable figures. They appear to be festival participants, including musicians, costumed dancers, and animals. Four felines are depicted inside the red and white band around the neck of the tunic, and there are four rows of figures below with two and a half figures on each side of the center seam. The figures face the center of the garment, and, with a single exception, those on the left half appear in mirror image on the right. There are panpipe players, drummers, birds, monkeys, and a young feline on a leash. A human figure in the second row from the bottom holds one hand to his mouth, perhaps playing a whistle or flute, and another figure, next to the armhole, holds a staff with five round projections and a streamer on top, possibly a rattle. At the bottom, six humans with feline heads carry staffs in a procession. Whether a historical event or a mythical scene, this was quite a party.


Bibliography
Benavides, Mario 1999 Tejidos Wari [Wari Textiles]. In Tejidos Milenarios Del Perú [Ancient Peruvian Textiles], José Antonio de Lavalle and Rosario de Lavalle de Cárdenas, eds., pp. 353-411. Colección Apu. Integra AFP, Lima. p. 361, pl. 2.

Bennett, Wendell C. 1954 Ancient Arts of the Andes. Museum of Modern Art, New York. fig. 88.

Benson, Elizabeth P. 1963 Handbook of the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art. Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C., p. 70, cat. 390.

Bliss, Robert Woods 1957 Pre-Columbian Art: The Robert Woods Bliss Collection. Text and Critical Analyses by S. K. Lothrop, Joy Mahler and William F. Foshag. Phaidon, New York. p. 280, cat. 350, pl. CXLVI.

Bliss, Robert Woods 1959 Pre-Columbian Art: The Robert Woods Bliss Collection. 2nd ed. Text and Critical Analyses by S. K. Lothrop, Joy Mahler and William F. Foshag. Phaidon, London. p. 288, cat. 350, pl. CXLVI.

Boone, Elizabeth Hill (ED.) 1996 Andean Art at Dumbarton Oaks. Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks; No. 1. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C. vol. 2, p. 392-394, pl. 109.

Brokaw, Galen 2010 A History of the Khipu. Cambridge Latin American Studies; 94. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge; New York. Image 11.

Bühl, Gudrun (ED.) 2008 Dumbarton Oaks: The Collections. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C., p. 268-9.

Callaway, Carol and Susan E. Bergh 1996 Form and Rhythm: Ancient Andean Textiles at Dumbarton Oaks. Hali. The International Magazine of Antique Carpet and Textile Arts (89):84-91. p. 84-91, fig. 8.

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Robertson, Donald 1963 Pre-Columbian Architecture. The Great Ages of World Architecture. G. Braziller, New York. fig. 105.

Rowe, Ann Pollard 1979 Textile Evidence for Huari Music. Textile Museum Journal 18. p. 9.

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Stone-Miller, Rebecca 1992 Camelids and Chaos in Huari and Tiwanaku Textiles. In Ancient Americas: Art from Sacred Landscapes, pp. 334-345. Art Institute of Chicago; Prestel-Verlag, Chicago and Munich. p. 342-344, fig. 13.

Stone-Miller, Rebecca and Gordon F. McEwan 1990 Representation of the Wari State in Stone and Thread: A Comparison of Architecture and Tapestry Tunics. Res (19):53-80. p. 56, fig. 4.

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Exhibition History
"Ancient Art of the Andes", Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, 1/26 - 3/21/1954; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN, 4/21 - 6/13/1954; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA, 7/23 - 9/19/1954.

"Indigenous Art of the Americas", National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, April 1956 to July 1962.

"The Ancient Americas: Art from Sacred Landscapes", Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 10/10/1992 - 1/3/1993; Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, 2/14 - 4/18/1993; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA, 6/6/ - 8/15/1993.

"Clothing for the Afterlife" Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC, 10/7/2015 - 5/22/2016.


Acquisition History
Purchased from Walram von Schoeler, New York (dealer), by Robert Woods Bliss, 1949.

Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art, Washington, DC, 1949-1962.

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Pre-Columbian Collection, Washington, DC.


Felines | Huari | Musicians