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Cloak panel

Cloak panel

  • Place of origin:

    Peru (made)

  • Date:

    900-1476 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woven cotton ground with applied feathers

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Clay

  • Museum number:

    T.153-1912

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The feathers of tropical forest birds made spectacular decorations for robes and headdresses in ancient Peru. Examples have been found in graves with the bodies of their owners, who were buried with clothes and artefacts from their everyday lives.

This panel, made of the colourful feathers of the macaw parrot, probably formed part of the cloak or robe of a person of high rank. Textiles and clothing were very important and clearly indicated a person's status and wealth. They were often presented as diplomatic gifts or at ceremonies.

Hot, dry conditions in the burial grounds provided ideal conditions for the lengthy survival of textiles made from a limited range of fibres: mainly cotton and llama, alpaca or vicuna wool. Peruvians used a variety of techniques which included tapestry weave and embroidery. Featherwork was particularly favoured by the culture which existed in the northern coastal regions of Peru. The feathers were attached by their quills to a cotton background material by cotton cord. Patterns were not just geometric as in this example but might also include images of birds, animals or humans.

Physical description

Panel of cotton from a cloak or mantle covered with feathers of the macaw parrot

Place of Origin

Peru (made)

Date

900-1476 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Woven cotton ground with applied feathers

Dimensions

Length: 41 cm, Width: 54 cm

Descriptive line

Featherwork panel from a cloak

Materials

Cotton; Cotton thread; Feathers

Techniques

Weaving; Sewing

Categories

Archaeology; Clothing; Death; Textiles

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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