Assorted Nazca Cordage and Textile Fragments

Item TB187                   

This Item was Sold on 14 January 2011 for $96

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This item is an assortment of cordage and textile fragments from the Nazca culture. This material is nearly 2,000 years old! The assortment includes two groups of knotted cordage that may be part of a net or accounting system or some other unidentified usage. There are two straight pieces of cordage. One is plain and it appears to be made out of plant fibre. The second is dyed wool with two colors of twisted strands. There is a group of very fine red dyed cordage, possibly raw material for weaving a sling or tump. There is a really nice belt fragment that is approximately 18 inches (45 cm) in length. This belt fragment is made out of plant fibres, dyed two colors and woven into a pattern with geometric triangles. There is a piece of fabric with a very complicated circular weave that is not in very good shape. Finally, there is a large tassel made out of yellow and red dyed wool. The tassel is probably the terminating end of a large ceremonial tump or sling. All in all, this is a nice assortment of textile and cordage fragments from a culture that existed at the same time as Christ and the Roman Empire. Length = 45 cm ; Weight = 32 gm

The Nazca ( or Nasca ) people of Sourthern Peru are the ancestors of the famous Incas. The Nazca lived in a system of valleys in what is currently Southern Peru between 200 BC and 600 AD. The Nazcas developed from the earlier Paracas culture. Since the Nazca were a coastal people who depended on the sea for their livelihood, archaeologists are fortunate that the Nazca portrayed aspects of their everyday lives in and on their pottery and textiles. Much of their art was influenced by the Moche culture. The motifs generally found on these artifacts are those of animals and plants used and seen by the ancient people. These include sea birds, hummingbirds, whales, sharks, fish, snakes, seeds, flowers, and cacti. Nazca religious art portrays a wide range of fantastic half-human, half-animal creatures, thought to be symbols of the most fearsome creatures inhabiting the earth, sky, and water. Also, more gruesomely, the Nazca portrayed disembodied heads, presumed to be trophy heads, on their pottery.

The Nazca are most famous for the Nazca geoglyphs, line art located in the Nazca Desert, a high and arid plateau that stretches between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the pampa (a large flat area of southern Peru). The Nazca plain is virtually unique for its ability to preserve the markings upon it, due to the combination of the climate (one of the driest on Earth, with only twenty minutes of rainfall per year) and the flat, stony ground which minimises the effect of the wind at ground level.

The Nazca are well known for their textiles. They began using massive quantities of llama and alpaca wool a thousand years before the north coast cultures began to esteem the camelid wool. The source of the wool is believed to be from the Ayacucho region. The motifs that appeared on the pottery appeared earlier in the textiles. Textiles may have been as important to other cultures in the region as to the Nazca, but the desert has preserved the textiles of both the Nazca and Paracas cultures and comprise most of what is known about early textiles in the region.

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