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Inca tapestry with pattern of tocapu bands

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Dated: 1532 - 1600

Cultural Context: Inca - Colonial style

Origin: Cuzco Region. Peru

Medium: Cotton, Camelid fibres

Technique: Woven tapestry, Eccentric weave

Dimensions: Length: 124.5 cm; Width: 20.5 cm

Inventory no.: 14636

Incomplete textile sash depicting two hundred and twenty four tocapus. Each motif is repeated and distributed diagonally, with some exceptions where this repetition is interrupted by another motif.

According to various sources, tocapus could be symbols related to heraldry and the genealogies of prominent Inca families (to whom their use was limited). In this particular sash, there are more than three rows of tocapus, which are oriented horizontally, probably indicating their use as decoration in the centre of a woman’s dress or shawl.

Judging by the technical and iconographic details, it is an Inca piece, though it was probably embroidered during the colonial period. Similar motifs can be seen on some of the keros (ceremonial cups) preserved at the Museum of the Americas, which also date from the colonial period.