Product Description

The textile offered here dates back to a period from 800-1200 A.D. and is attributed to the ancient Pre-Spanish Chimu Culture.  It is rare for textiles to survive from a period this old but due to the extreme dryness of the desert environment, woven textiles from this area do survive and they offer us a fantastic glimpse into the organic world of these ancient peoples.  The Pre-Columbian cultures of western coastal South America hold many mysteries and some believe evidence such as their technology, the Nazca Lines and figures in the desert that can only be seen from an aerial perspective, are evidence of extra-terrestrial contact.  Fabrics like this showing bizarre alien-like creatures only add to the mystery and spark the imagination……………….. what if…?

At the size of a page in a magazine, this is a much larger than typical ancient textile from South America.  It shows two large main creatures facing each other – one dark red and the other like a ghost double in a faint hue not much different from the golden orange background of the body of the cloth.  Surrounding the main creatures are chameleon-looking animals in contrasting shades of red, orange and white.  The color palette chosen by the ancient weaver follows a pleasing, complimentary relationship, not so with all cloths from this era and region.  The fabric is whole and complete with upper and lower borders to terminate the designs.  Framed in an antique bronze frame, the colors of the cloth and frame make for an especially rich presence and intriguing interior display of authentic ancient handwork from this enigmatic lost society.

This ancient textile is INTACT with NO REPAIR AND NO RESTORATION.  This specimen is 100% original and has had nothing done to it.  Unlike most Pre-Columbian textiles seen for sale, this specimen has NOT been enhanced with any modern dye or re-sewing. 

The western coastal desert region of South America is considered the most arid place on our planet.  Because of this, it has protected ancient objects n near perfect preservation where most other regions of the world would have claimed them to rot and decay.  One of the most famous historical artifacts of Pre-Spanish archaeology in this region is ancient textiles of the former native American empires that once thrived there over 1000 years ago.  Preserved as if many were made just yesterday, these woven textiles shed amazing insight on the mind, beliefs and practices of this ancient peoples.  In their world, these woven fabrics were prized greater than gold or silver.  The possession of these colorful and intricately woven textiles were a show to all that their owners were amongst the most noble and richest members of the society of that day.

The ancient textiles of this region and peoples were made up of hand spun and woven fibers.  These fibers were either cotton or the wool of indigenous camelids that included the llama, alpaca, guanaco and vicuna.  Some textiles were made of dyed fibers, used alternatively with different colors to create patterns.  Some textiles were woven of a few or single primary color with the design hand-painted on the cloth after the weaving was completed.  Other textiles were embroidered and even appliqués of gold or silver were added within the weaving.  Aside from burial mantles, woven garments included sleeveless shirts with or without fringes, small ponchos, tunics and loincloths.

Formal excavations at many of these Pre-Columbian cemeteries revealed that the many of the individual mummies were interred with only a single rough cotton wrapping.  Others were wrapped with one or two ordinary cotton cloths, devoid of design or color.  The richest graves consisted of individuals elaborately wrapped with two or three mantles decorated with patterns, colorful dyes and even more rarely, with embroidered borders of intricate designs.

The design and iconography of the textiles of ancient west coastal South America sheds light upon the societal, economic and religious institutions that their world was based upon.  Some of the imagery appears as if the artisans were recording actual events in the fabric.   Other designs were possibly evidence of weavers documenting astronomical observations or religious prophecies.  The surreal and intriguing figures and designs leave us with more wonder and mystery of these enigmatic peoples than they explain.