Paracas textile 179 1935.32.0179

The textile was restituated by the City of Gothenburg to the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia and the Ministry of Culture in Peru on the 18 of June 2014.

Embroideries from Paracas most often present the same motif all over the garment or weave concerned, but here instead many different motifs have been embroidered, totalling 32 squares with various figures. The border round the textile also contains several small motifs. The figures are similar on both sides, i.e. the textile does not have an obverse or reverse side to it. This textile is understood to have lain in front of the breast of a mummy in the outer layers of a grave bundle.

Motif descriptions

The scholar Anne Paul has described the motifs as follows (picture Paracas 1935.32.179): 1. A bird similar to motifs 10 and 13. 2. A bird of unknown species and a flowering tuber. 3. An anthropomorphic figure wearing a headpiece, skirt and anklets. The upper part of the body is step-shaped. The figure is holding a headpiece in both hands. 4. A bird, possibly an Inca Tern. See also motifs 11 and 21. 5. A germinating bean pod, two tubers, something which may be a tied-up pouch, two flowering tubers, a headpiece and an unidentified object, all twisted round an object in the middle. 6. A bird, possibly a falcon. See also motifs 12 and 27. 7. Five birds, probably hummingbirds, gathered round a flower-like object which could be a cross-section of a San Pedro cactus (Trichonocereus pachanoi, a hallucinogenic cactus species). See also motif 19. 8. Similar to motif 23, but in this picture the stave terminates in a projectile point and the knife has a handle resembling a trophy head. 9. A frog and blossoming branches with roots, from an unknown plant. The crescent-shaped protuberances at the sides of the frog’s body may represent the air sacs. 10. Bird of unknown species. See also motifs 1 and 13. 11. A bird, possibly an Inca Tern. See also motifs 4 and 21. 12. A bird, possibly a falcon. See also motifs 6 and 27. 13. Bird of unknown species, resembling motifs 1 and 10. 14. A bird which might be a condor, judging by the comb on its head and the pale ruff. An unidentified object is attached to the bird’s neck. 15. An anthropomorphic figure wearing a tunic, necklace and anklets and holding a spear. The motif also includes an unidentified object, a headpiece and a flowering tuber which partly conceals the face. See also motif 32. 16. A crustacean, probably a crayfish. Its claws, antennae, eyes and segmented body are clearly depicted. 17. A bird, possibly a condor. Although the wings in this motif are not typical of the condor, the head and the white ruff tell us that an adult condor is depicted. The protrusion under the bill could represent the gizzard, which protrudes from the throat when the bird has eaten well. 18. A human figure wearing a mask with whiskers and a headdress with twisted bands. It is wearing a tunic and anklets and is holding a bean pod and an unidentified object in its hands. 19. Six birds, probably hummingbirds, round a flower with eight petals. See also motif 7. 20. An anthropomorphic figure wearing a skirt, headpiece, hair pendants a necklace and anklets. In its hands it is holding a striped stave, a fan and a tuber. 21. A bird with wings outstretched, holding a fish in its beak. It may be an Inca Tern (Larosterna inca), which has a curved white plume on each side of its head. See also motifs 4 and 11. 22. An anthropomorphic figure wearing a tunic, leggings and necklaces, holding a trophy head and an unidentified object. 23. Stationed behind what may be a flowering plant is an anthropomorphic figure holding a stave, a knife and an unidentified object in its hands and wearing anklets and leggings. See also motif 8. 24. A bird resembling a falcon, to judge by the markings round the eye, the zigzag patterning of the tail feathers and the patterning of the wing pennons, though a real falcon does not have the leg markings of the bird shown here. 25. A composite figure with wings and tail feathers like a bird but feline ears, something resembling whiskers and a protruding tongue. It also has legs and anklets. See also motifs 10 and 13. 26. Two anthropomorphic figures with their hair let down are attached to a plant-like shape which also resembles a headpiece. One of the figures is holding a cat by the tail. The plant-like shape in the middle has roots at one end, and at the other end a face with a serpentine band. 27. A bird resembling a falcon, to judge by the markings round its eye and the patterning of its tail. See also motifs 6 and 12. 28. An anthropomorphic figure with a bean-shaped body. It is wearing a loincloth and leggings and holding a stave and a serpent in its hands. The head has whiskers, probably a face mask, and seems to be positioned upside down on the body. The tongue is protruding and is the shape of an unidentified object. A headpiece is attached to the “eye” of the bean. 29. An anthropomorphic figure with a bean-shaped body. The head is tilted upwards and the tongue protruding. The figure has anklets and is holding a tuber in one hand. Near the “eye” of the bean is a serpentine band, and next to the lower part of the body is an unidentified object. 30. Unidentified motif. 31. An anthropomorphic figure with its head tilted backwards. It is wearing a sleeved tunic, a necklace and anklets and has an unidentified object round one arm. In its hands the figure is holding a tuber and a bent stave from which two objects are suspended which might be bells or crotals (see also mantle 1935.32.0209). In front of the body and head is something which might be a blossoming branch with roots. 32. An anthropomorphic figure with a loincloth, headpiece and anklets. The figure is holding a flowering tuber to its mouth while a knife is pinned beneath the other arm. See also motif 15. The border round the edge of the textile consist of four different motifs, systematically repeated, namely a feline (probably a pampas cat, Oncifelis colocolo or Leopardus colocolo), a bird which may be a falcon, an unidentified bird, and an anthropomorphic figure wearing a skirt, anklets, headpiece and hair pendants and carrying a stave, fan and tuber. One of the motifs in the sequence is missing from the corner at figure 25.

Material and technique

Embroidered with woollen yarn on cotton. The motifs are sewn in close tubular cross-knit loop stitch, 10-14 cm, round a framework of either woven or plaited bands or individual threads, depending on the calibre of the finished details. The motifs in the squares were probably sewn separately and then sewn together with the borders.

Dating and origin

Paracas Necropolis, Intermedio Temprano 2 (c. 100 AD – 200 AD)


Fakta om föremålet
Size 104x53 cm
Item number 1935.32.0179
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Category Mantle