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Fragment (Peru)

This is a Fragment. It is dated 1100–1400 and we acquired it in 1943. Its medium is wool, cotton and its technique is plain weave with discontinuous and interlocked warps and wefts. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Andean cloth has many meanings. Some are expressed through complex iconographic representations, others employ a strictly geometric vocabulary. Another form of meaning comes from the materiality of the cloth itself and way it was made.
This simple cloth is composed of interlocking stepped squares in contrasting colors. The duality of the design, like the Chinese yin/yang, employs two parts, different yet equal, that complete the whole. Andean weavers express this concept through technical as well as visual means. The two color areas are distinctly formed in the weaving process, each as intact units created and conceptualized individually. Each color unit is woven of yarns that are discontinuous – that is, they do not traverse the entire width or length of the fabric, but rather are used only where the color is called for. The brown is a naturally occurring color of fiber, while the orangey-pink likely comes from a mineral pigment. While we have no texts from this time period to know its meaning, one may assume this duality has not only technical but cultural significance.

  • Roundel (Egypt)
  • warp: undyed s-spun wool; wefts: s-spun red wool; s-spun white linen; s-spun....
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.
  • 1902-1-71
  • Square (Egypt)
  • warp: s-spun linen; wefts: s-spun linen, s-spun wool.
  • Gift of John Pierpont Morgan.
  • 1902-1-116

Its dimensions are

H x W: 40.5 x 28.5 cm (15 15/16 x 11 1/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Fragment (Peru); wool, cotton; H x W: 40.5 x 28.5 cm (15 15/16 x 11 1/4 in.); 1943-45-7

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Fragment (Peru) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=7 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>