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Arts of the Americas

CULTURES Nasca; Paracas
MEDIUM Cotton, camelid fiber
DATES 0–100 C.E.
PERIOD Early Intermediate Period, Phase 1
DIMENSIONS textile: 118 1/8 x 63 3/4 in. (300 x 162 cm) support board: 132 x 64 in. (335.3 x 162.6 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Alfred W. Jenkins Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Size: adult. Probable wearer: male. Field: horizontal camelid fiber warp, camelid fiber weft, dark blue color. Border: horizontal cotton warp, cotton weft, red color. Camelid fiber embroidery. The cotton foundation fibers of the border are actively deteriorating. The plain weave field is constructed of two webs and the condition of the camelid foundation fibers in the center is slightly better than those of the border, but this area is also deteriorating. The mantle is wider than usual. (NK) Condition fair; complete but with losses. From Mary Frame's notes: This is a Paracas "double fish" mantle on which pairs of the same figure, probably a shark because of the gill lines behind the eyes, are tightly associated with a smaller version of the figure between them. The eyes are swiveled to show frontally, or from above. A possible mythological transformation from shark to human, or vice versa, is suggested because there are arms projecting from the bodies of the fish. Mary Frame attributes a reverse curve that is repeated on the crossed looping of the seam cover adjacent to the fringe as a probable double-headed serpent. The predatory nature of the shark and/or killer whale (sometimes referred to as "the master of fishes") is made very clear in images on other textiles that portray the predator biting off the leg of a fleeing human. Human counterparts of this imagery often carry knives and heads, seemingly equating predation and sacrifice. A matching poncho in the Brooklyn Museum collection (34.1583) displays the same iconography and similar colors. Other related textiles in the museum's collection are 34.1594 and 86.224.90.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Nasca. Mantle, 0–100 C.E. Cotton, camelid fiber, textile: 118 1/8 x 63 3/4 in. (300 x 162 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Alfred W. Jenkins Fund, 34.1560 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 34.1560_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 34.1560_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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