Large Pre-Columbian Nazca Sling with Decorative Tassels

Item TB340  

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This item is a very large Pre-Columbian Nazca ceremonial sling made out of dyed plant and camelid fibres and woven with a large pouch and long ornamental tassels. The entire sling is deep red with golden threads added for design. The sling has a break between one line and the pouch. One of the lines with the tassel is missing, but this sling will still display well (see photo below). It is in good condition considering its age of 1,500 - 2,000 years. This tump was purchased in a New York City auction house in 1965 and it can be legally marketed in the USA, but it cannot be exported. Provenance proving that the date of acquisition was before the 1972 import ban will be provided to the purchaser upon payment.

Length = 184 cm ; Weight = 76 gm

The Nazca ( or Nasca ) people of Southern 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 their 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 minimizes the effects 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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