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Textiles amérindiens. Recherches récentes : du présent au passé et inversement – Coord. Sophie Desrosiers et Paz Núñez Regueiro
Dimitri Karadimas

Monkeys, Wasps and Gods: Graphic perspectives on Middle Horizon and later pre-Hispanic painted funerary textiles from the Peruvian coast

[07/07/2016]

Résumé

This paper examines the iconography of a group of pre-Columbian Andean woven textiles that, under the cloak of apparent heterogeneity, often hides a common thematic structure. It was widespread among pre-Columbian societies of the coast to individualise their art by applying thematic variations to the images they painted on cotton textiles: graphic compositions of a standing figure surrounded by a symmetrical arrangement of monkeys, felines and birds. Used as funerary shrouds to enclose the corpse after death, the woven textiles and their iconography performed the transformation of the recently deceased person into his new afterlife entity.
The presupposition of our presentation is that the painted scenes were inspired by mythological references. They present a journey that the deceased must undertake to achieve immortality. Others have already completed the journey and, as major mythological heroes, they are still visible as celestial bodies, having triumphed in their battle against the stars for immortality. Their alternate diurnal and nocturnal presence can still be seen today.
By carrying out an iconographical analysis based on contemporary Lowland mythology gathered in Colombia, in which this celestial antagonism is presented, we propose to find the homogeneity in these variations. Our aim is to bring new light to the reason for their presence as images on the mortuary materials of pre-Hispanic coastal societies.

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Introduction

1Many painted funerary textiles of South American coastal pre-Hispanic civilizations reveal complex iconographic constructions that are, with some exceptions, enigmatic. One of the scenes presents a central anthropomorphic figure, in a frontal pose, accompanied by a variety of animals and geometric patterns, sometimes arranged symmetrically so as to fill the entire surface of the material. The absence of historical texts that could help us to understand this central scene, and to identify its various characters, opens a wide range of interpretations, in particular with regards to the identification of these figures.

  • 1 As in the Lowlands where a person is often buried wrapped in his hammock.

2In current Andean archaeology, the identification of this central figure relies on the anthropomorphic way pre-Columbian artists chose to represent it. Let’s start by making a single statement: common iconographical interpretations begin by considering images, or pictorial realisations, and trying to understand what the artist wants to represent. Beginning their research in this way, iconologists attempt to fit the common perceived reality with the iconic content of an image. Present trends in the anthropology of images, as held by Alfred Gell (1998) and Hans Belting (2004) especially on ritual images, state that images have their own way of interacting, as a social agent would do, allowing them to enter into more complex cultural constructions. These tendencies in anthropology don’t really propose an analysis of the iconographical content of the images, but look at them as part of a more global construction, which, then, is the object of the study. In such analyses, the iconographical content of an image is, subsequently, not of great importance: a funerary textile can easily be replaced by, say, a hammock1: both fulfil the role of something that is wrapped around the dead body. What then becomes relevant is the relationship between this artefact and the deceased person and not so much what is drawn on the material. But one question still remains: if a piece of cloth is sufficient to carry out a burial, why bother drawing something on it? Moreover, why does this something repeat itself from one burial to another? And why does it remain stable, with a few variations, throughout the centuries? One way to give an answer to these questions is, these authors propose, to look at drawings as if they were an ornamentation of the object in the same way a human person receives body paintings, motifs and adornments; it is, these theories claim, the adornment that leads to an individualisation of the artefacts. Of course, every artefact that is made by an artisan is singular but this doesn’t explain the content of the drawings and pictures, which relies, we believe, on cultural narrative content. This narrative solution of a representative pictographic alternative supposes that a certain stability of content exists through space and time. Our proposal is to look at these same images not as if they were “alive” – the opposite of what we would call an artifact –, but as mere illustrations of myths which participate in a more complex ritual construction, for example, a funerary ritual.

3The method that we chose to follow is driven by fieldwork with the Miraña of the Colombian Amazon and stands in opposition to classical iconographic interpretation. Firstly, we confronted local mythologies and tried, with the help of contemporary informants, to understand if these myths have any reference to the environment, or if they are just “stories” with no link into the perceived reality. For example, finding that a monkey or a spider character from a myth is also the name given to some constellation, allows us to recognize that in order to fully understand the story we also need to look at this as being the description of an astronomical event. The astronomical event occurs with a disposition of stars or constellations that depends on horizons and time, and it requires a certain structure that each element takes in relation to the other. The interpretation therefore relies on the fact that the same rational understanding of reality occurs here and there; it is only in a secondary understanding of the interpretation that iconographic comparison can be made.

4This astronomical way of understanding myths was very common in anthropological analysis, and Claude Lévi-Strauss’ Mythologiques, for example, can be regarded as much a structuralist masterpiece as an ethno-astronomical interpretation of myths. Strangely, anthropologists slowly abandoned this tendency – with some exceptions such as Edmundo Magaña (1988) or Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff (1996), and others coming from archaeological interpretations such as Anthony Aveni and Gary Urton (1982). Basically, this was the result of two changes. Firstly, at some point Amerindian societies started to count seasons and to live according to Christian times, partially losing their astronomical knowledge. And secondly, post-structural anthropologists looked at myths and contemporary Amerindian cultures as detached from astronomical knowledge. This arose from their own incomprehension of the importance that the night sky reality had had in the construction of space and time knowledge in South America.

  • 2 Karadimas 1999.

5In the context of myths, we can view the confrontations of the monkey or the spider characters with other figures as being a mythical translation of some astronomical event2. Accordingly, the monkey character’s behaviour is not exactly in keeping with that of a natural monkey. That is not necessarily due to a lack of naturalistic knowledge on the part of the Amerindian culture but rather because it is describing the behaviour of the group of stars the monkey personifies. This way of constructing myth is, as we see it, not far removed from classical Greek mythology construction (where the names of mythological characters are also those of major constellations or planets).

  • 3 Karadimas 2014.

6After first examining the ethnographic work, looking at past and contemporary iconography allows a new way of interpreting characters and forms; according to the way they are dispatched into a frame as, for example, in woven textiles, they become an illustration of a mythical episode that relies on an astronomical event. The placement of the characters on the artefact is a reflection of the disposition of stars and planets in the night sky. This method of iconographical interpretation based on mythology is particularly relevant in the analysis of ethnographical material culture that can also be applied to artefacts from earlier times3.

7Furthermore, this paper aims to develop discussions on post-mortem life perceptions in southern Amerindian societies, and to see how they are iconographically expressed on some artefacts. Accordingly, our contribution will examine iconographical material from pre-Columbian societies and, comparing it with contemporary mythologies, it will show that similar metaphorical links were present; perhaps even the same beliefs and myths were prevalent in this pre-Columbian past.

  • 4 Karadimas 2007, 2012.

8Since the ethnographic data principally affected by those processes are myths, we will direct our interpretative efforts towards an explanation of the mythology of the Miraña, an Amazonian group living on the Caquetá River in Colombia, which has been, for more than twenty years, our principal fieldwork terrain. This mental image-generating process is not only restricted to mythology, ritual and shamanic medicine. It also occurs in everyday life, when people are not in a modified state of consciousness, such as when a shaman performs his cures. We will link it to the mythology and representations of the present and past Amazonians, but also to some Andean traditions where, in a comparative view, identical iconographic methods have apparently been adopted to express the same mythological background. Our purpose is not to demonstrate that these sets of present and past societies are a continuation of one another, but to show how the same mythological material is built up on the basis of similarities that occur during the process of perception4.

9We will begin our analysis by presenting the Miraña myth that describes a vast interaction between Orion, the Moon, Venus and the Sun, each of them personified by an animal, or at least by a character assuming their names. After that, we will examine some pasts interpretations of iconographic material to show how it is possible to look at pre-Columbian archaeological artefacts with contemporary interpretative knowledge; this will enable us to look at the funerary iconographic expression as a variation of this mythology, where the central character is an anthropomorphic personification of a parasitic wasp, the monkeys are figurations of stars, and the spiders are the victims of the wasp in the same way the stars are “victims” of the Sun when they “disappear” from the sky at dawn. The entire process described in the myth will then be applied to the post-mortem rebirth cycle of humans and will explain its presence as iconographic expression on funerary textiles.

A Miraña mythic episode

  • 5 See Århem et al. 2004.

10In the Northwest Amazon, the ritual associated with the harvest of the peach-palm fruit is widespread and closely related to the March equinox5. Masked people act as animal spirits visiting humans and they are invited to drink beer and to remember mythical events. The characters of the myth also play a role inside the ritual. I will give a very brief abstract of this myth as the ritual and the iconographic elements will be compared to it.

  • 6 The kinkajou, Potos flavus, is a small arboreal nocturnal mammal from the Procyonidae family and is (...)
  • 7 Aotus trivirgatus: the name for the nocturnal monkey, Temumu, is also used for house spiders from t (...)

A character called Night-Aster (for the Moon), or Blowgun Shooter (a name given to a large wasp) leaves for the upper world (the sky) where he takes Kinkajou-woman for his wife6. His brothers-in-law are the four Night-Monkeys7. Having had incestuous relations with their sister, the monkeys become jealous of this union and decide to fight with Night-Aster. And so Moon, trying to catch his brothers-in-law, chases them all night as they flee to escape him. At dawn, the four monkeys disappear by climbing and entering into a hollow tree (in fact a macaw nest, which is, in the surrounding region, the name for the Araracuara Falls). Aster/Moon pokes his head into the hollow trunk and the four monkeys, hiding inside, cut it off. The head falls down into the underworld, the Land of the Fishes.

The kinkajou woman gives birth to two beings: Day-Aster (the Sun), son of Night-Aster, and his placenta, a creature issued from her incestuous relationship with the four monkeys. The placenta transforms itself into a freshwater stingray in the world of the fishes. When he reaches adolescence, Day-Aster plans to avenge his father’s death: he take his father’s blowgun, kills the four monkeys (his maternal uncles), eats them, and places their skulls on each of the four central pillars of the maloca. After that, he takes his father’s name “Blowgun-Shooter”, the name of a wasp. Witnessing this act, his mother commits suicide by transforming herself into a real kinkajou and sending her son to kill the animal. Day-Aster recognises the game he is eating as his mother.

  • 8 For a detailed ethno-astronomical analysis, see Karadimas 1999, 2003, 2005a & b.

Day-Aster takes a woman from the fish people to be his wife, ignoring the fact that she is already the wife of Stingray (his former placenta and, here, the Orion constellation in the East), and decides to go to the world of the fishes to retrieve his father’s head that has, in the meantime, transformed into a bunch of peach-palm fruit. There, playing a game of rubber-ball with his brothers-in-law, he shoots the ball into the palm tree, knocking down the bunch so that the fruits explode and release their stones. He steals one, brings it back to the earth, and begins a fight with Stingray over his wife. The rivalry between the two half-brothers ends with Day-Aster killing Stingray by throwing a lance into his heart (a metaphorical way of presenting the fight between the Sun and the stars, in particular the Orion constellation during the March equinox8).

Figure 1: iconographical presentation of the genealogy of the characters of the Miraña myth of the origin of the peach-palm and their astronomical counterparts

Composition by the author, © D. Karadimas

  • 9 Karadimas 1999, 2000-2001, 2003.
  • 10 Karadimas 2003.
  • 11 Karadimas 1999, 2000-2001, 2014.

11In a set of past articles9, we have shown that the characters’ actions in the myth make reference to a complex association between the Orion constellation and the Moon at the western horizon, and between the same constellation and the Sun at the eastern one. The trapezium formed by the external stars of this constellation is a good graphical indicator of which horizon is involved when it appears on iconographical material. At the same time, it is possible to deduce if the Moon or the Sun is represented with the constellation: when the trapezium appears with the shorter base downwards, it is a reference to the Orion constellation preceding the Moon setting at the western horizon. When it appears in the inverse position with the shorter base upwards, it is the same constellation reappearing at the East, preceding the equinoctial sun. When the Orion constellation appears at the zenith, each one of the four stars of the trapezium occupies one quarter of the nocturnal sky, divided according to the east/west north/south poles, forming an imaginary cross. The entire circle-forming night sky is thus divided in quarters, each one containing a star – or an iconographic equivalent of it – creating a dotted quadripartite circle. The Miraña, Yukuna, Makuna and Letuama people of the Caquetá-Apaporis region of south Colombia represent these different astronomical references on masks that personify the fish-people or the ray. On the Stingray mask, the nostrils are represented as eyes that, along with the real eyes that appear on the dorsal face of the animal, form the four “eyes” of the Orion constellation10. In pre-Columbian cultures of the Nariño and Carchi regions, this theme appears on pottery iconography with monkeys and stars, as it does in Moche iconography11. Therefore, the four monkeys depicted facing each other in pairs on pottery or textiles from that macro-cultural area of the Andes should be seen as a reference to the Orion constellation. This is particularly relevant if other elements inside the pictographic composition depict astral entities or items.

Figure 2 – Painted Textile, (Peru, north-central coast, Middle Horizon 3, AD 900-1000, 117 x 66 cm) drawing D. Karadimas after Rochford & Messick Fine Arts, 2005.

  • 12 Karadimas 2007. I wish to acknowledge the help provided by Ann Rowe in the dating of some of the te (...)

12This disposition of monkeys appears on a painted textile from the north-central coast and has already been presented in a previous publication12. The textile shows an enigmatic composition of four spotted monkeys or feline-like animals, arranged symmetrically around a central figure that is flanked by two smaller figures: the entire scene is filled with geometrical elements and each corner, if not erased, is marked by stepped triangles. Coming from the art market, this textile didn’t receive a comprehensive iconographical description. The central figure, for example, is described on the Internet site where it was sold as a “large avian figure” basically because of the wings and some kind of an open “beak” pointing downwards. And the two other central figures, centipedes (cf. infra), are not interpreted at all. As already mentioned, our iconographical interpretation is enriched by the mythological knowledge that comes from contemporary lowland populations, where the disposition of the monkeys and the three central figures corresponds to a figuration of the Orion constellation. But we also know that this constellation enters into a mythological event where it opposes an astral figure, named after a parasitic wasp, which personifies both the Sun and the Moon. As such, we have to look at this central figure not as a “large avian figure”, but as a wasp with its four forelegs pointing downwards and the “beak” actually depicting the very large mandibles common to this type of wasp. As a complementary example, it allows us to make a comparison with two Inca jars on which this particular species of wasp was painted. The first (figure 3) is a well-known artefact actually kept at the Rafael Larco Museum in Peru. Various insects can be identified, such as the dragonfly, with the same insect at its larval stage positioned perpendicularly on both its sides (the small “wings” at the end of the tail are in fact large gill structures particularly developed in the damselfly: the gills of the damselfly are in the form of three leaf-like structures at the end of the abdomen).

Figure 3 – Inca Jar, Late Horizon AD 1450-1550. Ceramic, H. : 24.5 cm, Rafael Larco Museum, Lima. ML013788, and a Spider wasp

(http://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:Tarantula_hawk_wasp_1.jpg).

13Until this present contribution, the other insects painted between the dragonflies were interpreted as butterflies, or not identified. The orange-surrounded by black wing pattern is not a known feature of South American butterflies but does occur on the wings of the Pompilidae wasp family, also known as Spider-wasp, which is more likely depicted here.

14It is not immediately obvious why the two species should be brought into association within the same composition. The most evident denominator could be that they are predators, but this is common behaviour for many insects. Another possibility is that, in addition to having four wings, both of these predators have powerful “jaws”. The Latin family name “Odonate” for dragonflies is, in fact, constructed upon the same ancient Greek term referring to powerful “teeth”. The dragonflies’ – and not the wasps’ – mandibles were clearly depicted on the jar. The antennae and the wings are sufficient to identify the hymenoptera. The important point is that in other pre-Inca traditions, this anatomical characteristic was drawn as the fangs of a jaguar (see below), which may help to explain why a teeth-baring jaguar head is featured on the pottery.

Figure 4 – Inca style anthropomorphic jar showing spider-wasps and spiders (Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin, n° V A 19362).

Foto : Ines Seibt

  • 13 see also Karadimas 2003b.

15The other piece (figure 4) presents an anthropomorphised jar upon which a painted composition depicts a series of hymenoptera (four opened wings, pronotum and abdomen) and spiders. The more symptomatic anatomical element that enables us to distinguish the winged insects from butterflies is the presence of the two mandibles drawn in front of the head – but that appear “on top” of it when one considers the vertical position of the character presented on the jar – between the four forelegs. These details are seen again on the Middle Horizon textile (where the wings are presented closed alongside the body of the wasp: cf. figure 2). Wasps use paralysed spiders as part of their reproductive process and as victims of these winged insects, spiders were depicted between the wasps. This behaviour is central to the ideas and beliefs in a resurrection process that we will refer to later13. The important point, however, is that South Amerindian populations of the past took into account the natural relationship between the predator-wasp and the prey-spider. As such, it is not only possible to interpret the central figure of the earlier textile as a wasp, but this acknowledgment also allows us to reveal a less evident relationship between the species painted on the textile from figure 2: the surrounding monkeys are probably another way to depict a name that is constructed using the same combination as the Miraña, that is” monkey” and “spider”. Hence, it becomes easier to explain the presence of centipedes, the third species within the composition: along with the spider-wasp, centipedes are the other great predators of tarantulas. The central group formed by the wasp and the two centipedes are thus predators of spiders, presented on the textile as monkeys. As “anti-iconic” as this affirmation may seem, the four monkeys painted inside the Middle Horizon textile (figure 2) are to be interpreted as a reference to spiders, the victims of wasps and centipedes.

16This first painted textile presents the central character of the composition as a wasp, portrayed naturalistically. This will be anthropomorphised in later Andean tradition, by the Chancay or Chimu for example, and will be accompanied by a kind of monkey-feline hybrid.

“Monkey-feline” and “Feline-monkey” figurations

Figure 5 – Painted textile, Peru, north-central coast, Middle Horizon 3, AD 900-1100, N.M. 297, 132 x 114 cm. Ethnographisches Museum, München, in Schindler 2000: 171).

  • 14 Karadimas 2007.

17We have already partially interpreted this second Middle Horizon textile14 and shown that the central figure is a representation of an anthropomorphic wasp (similar to the masks of the contemporary peach-palm ritual: cf. infra). He is wearing quadripartite earrings; his face is depicted with two triangular elements on top of his head, and a tumi or sacrificial knife can be seen between them. The most interesting parts of the textile are the four geometrical spots distributed symmetrically in a trapezoidal form around the central character. In comparison to the earlier textile (figure 2), these geometrical elements seem to play the role of the four monkeys, who are missing in the composition.

  • 15 Schindler 2000-2001: 69.

18Here, we would like to analyse the astronomical references presented on the textile. Helmut Schindler from the Munich Ethnographic Museum where the artefact is kept today, comments this textile by recognising that, according to John Carlson, the double-headed serpent is commonly interpreted as a personification of the night sky or the Milky Way15. The question that arises concerns the representation of the central figure and attempts to give an unambiguous animal identity to the two seemingly feline spotted animals. If we compare them with the first textile (figure 2) where the monkeys also have spotted backs, it is clear that, here, another species is intended. The spotted back of the four-legged animal leaves little room to interpret it as anything other than a feline (as Schindler does, giving the jaguar as identification, Ibid: 69). At the same time, however, other elements, such as the faces of the animals, which are simian, contradict this identification. More specifically, they seem to correspond to the face of the Night-Monkey, which is endowed with three black streaks (= trivirgatus in Latin) merging, for the two lateral ones, near the monkey’s mouth after having made a curve around the eyes. As depicted, it is a feline with a monkey’s face, still an ambiguous beast.

19The other interpretation that could be surmised from the figuration is to keep the Night-Monkey’s face as the basic identity of the character and to interpret the spots as additional elements that allow us to link it graphically to a predatorial attribute of the central figure. In any case, it would be a night-monkey with jaguar-like fur. Once again, we are not able to resolve the ambiguity of the two “felines”.

  • 16 Spix 1823.

20One way to solve the figurative problem is to delve into the historical nominative process of this species, as its name was apparently build on Amerindian language. In the 19th century, before Humboldt classified it as Aotus sp., the Bavarian explorer and zoologist Johann Baptist von Spix gave the night-monkey one of its very scientific names, Nyctipitheci felinus which means “feline night-monkey” in Latin16. To forge a scientific name, Spix – who employed a lot of Miraña people on his expedition –, often took local or indigenous names and translated them into Latin. For the Miraña, the night-monkey is a “jaguar” and one of the common names given to this monkey in the Amazon is, still today, “mono-tigre”, tiger (jaguar)-monkey. Spix’s felinus may therefore have come from an indigenous name, specifically from the Miraña, suggesting not only is it a predator (night-monkeys are predators of invertebrates, small lizards and sleeping birds), but also that its eyes, when in the presence of a luminescent source, are like those of felines, as shiny as stars at night (this association between night-monkeys and stars is still common among Miraña people today). What we have on this second Middle Horizon textile (figure 5) could be a metaphorical figuration of a night-monkey portrayed by the combination of a feline and a monkey. It doesn’t exactly depict the species, but does illustrate its name.

21The other possibility is that the feline-monkey combination refers to a feline that displays monkey attributes or behaviour, which is the case of small felines like Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) and more particularly Margays (Leopardus weidi). Margays climb on trees like monkeys and can also run down a tree trunk headfirst. This ability makes them “monkey-like”. In Quechua, Ocelots and Margays are known as Chinchay. The fact that the word reappears in the name of the Northern province of the Chinchaysuyu is an indication of how important this species was in the eyes of pre-Hispanic cultures. So these representations combined figuration with appellation. As in the following textiles, (figure 6) felines linked in an iconic way to monkeys should be viewed as a reference to these nocturnal and arboreal species.

Figure 6 – illustration of a possible « monkey-feline » or « feline-monkey» appellation, thanks to a combined figuration of the two animals that give the species its name (a: Fragment of a late pre-Hispanic textile, 88.9 x 41.9 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n° 1979.206.395, http://www.metmuseum.org/​collection/​the-collection-online/​search/​312616

22In the compositional image, and linked to the central figure, they should be seen as the predators of the surrounding monkeys, assuming the role the centipedes had vis-à-vis the “monkey” figures – spiders – on the first Middle Horizon textile.

23In the Munich piece (figure 5), the four spotted elements arranged in a trapezoid between the central characters thus play the role of the absent monkeys. And when referring to their star value, they portray the peripheral stars of the Orion constellation. The three central elements are, therefore, an anthropomorphised wasp with two Chinchay feline creatures that prey on spiders and monkeys (and the geometric elements are stars). This configuration is sometimes presented in more complex compositions, as in the next artefact that is a variation of the Munich textile.

Exploration into iconographic construction

Figure 7 – painted textile, Middle Horizon 3, north-central coast, AD 900-1100 (unknown collection: http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/​chancay/​chancay-textile-7.jpg ).

  • 17 cf. supra: Karadimas 2014.

24This third Middle Horizon textile (figure 7) represents a variation of the two previous ones: the central character, with apparent phallus, has the same diamond-shaped eyes and he is baring his teeth in an aggressive pose. The earrings are identical, with a quadripartite division creating a vertically and horizontally formed cross, and there is a dot in each partition as seen in compositions already existent in Moche iconography17. The monkeys are drawn in two different ways. Either they are in profile climbing along the edges of the textile or they are depicted merely as faces surrounding the central figure. As in the Munich textile (figure 5), the central character’s bones are showing (or he is very thin) but he isn’t wearing a “belt”, depicted in figure 5 as a crested two-headed serpent. He is black with a red face and there are two serpent-like elements rising from each side of his head. A last variation, present on the Munich textile but absent here, is the two triangles on top of the central character’s head.

25The symmetrical axes play an important role in understanding how this textile is composed. The central vertical axis is the most simple of the composition as it allows us to recognise that the repartition of the monkeys is made according to the central character. The horizontal symmetry axis is more difficult to identify. It divides the drawing through the middle at the level of the anthropomorphic character’s arms and clips the top of the felines’ heads.

26According to the vertical axis, the grouping of two feline faces on each side is only partially equivalent. On the right side of the composition, the second monkey head is missing as only the iconographical element that serves as an eye was drawn. In other parts of the composition, this same element reappears in sets or as an independent item. It is thus an iconic element that has to be taken as an indicator of some shared quality possessed by the eye of this monkey species and the object it is supposed to refer to. We already know that this manner of depicting the monkeys’ faces represents the night-monkey, and also that their eyes have a peculiar shininess at night making them good candidates for the evocation of stars.

27This leads us to the group of four small concentric circles between the legs of the central character that corresponds, according to the horizontal axis and reversed as in a mirror, to the group of four monkey faces on the upper half of the textile. We also know that the orientation of the Orion trapezium gives a crucial indication of the horizons involved (east or west). Assuming that the four monkeys icon is a reference to the Orion constellation, we can deduce that it is, for the upper part of the scene, the occidental horizon that is represented. And the direction taken by the flying birds gives more relevant information: the central bird is rising from the bottom, whereas the others are diving from the top. The birds’ directions must be linked to the monkeys’ placement. For the first group, the constellation is, like the birds, directed downwards, to the West. On the other side, the central bird is rising from the bottom, level with the four circles that are arranged in a ‘rising’ trapezoid. In this textile, at least, birds are used as trajectory indicators.

28Another important item is the graphic grouping of three elements in a similar disposition and with the same colour pattern. The easiest to recognise is the line of three small circles at the bottom right of the composition, which are presumably stars. The middle circle is red and the other two are black (black/red/black). The positioning and the alternating colours are mirrored in the two monkey faces on each side of the margays (black/red/black) and, as on the right side of the composition, the grouping receives only one circle for the absent head (the line of three circles beneath should be seen as a starry pendant). Other stars and iconographical elements of the textile seem to be placed so as to fill the space of the entire artefact.

29If the picture’s lines of composition are revealed, it appears that the two arms of the central figure are pointing to the four small circles positioned under the penis. Graphically, the line of the three circles is a prolongation of the line formed by the left arm. This imaginary line crosses the central asterism. We know that Orion’s Belt should have been depicted between these four circles if the artist wanted to show the entire constellation, which is, at first glance, not the case here. It seems that the line of three circles is to be understood as being this absent Belt in the asterism. But there is more: if the chromatic code is of some importance, as we think it is, then the four small spotted circles between the central character’s legs should have been red, mirroring their symmetrical equivalent, the four monkeys’ faces. Only two of them are red, the other two black, but the head of the bird is graphically similar to the middle red circle of the three circle group and plays the role of the central red circle here. Therefore, the reason why the four circles are not red is because the three stars of Orion’s Belt were superposed on top of the four peripheral stars of the trapezium. As two of the three are black, they appear with alternating colours but they are in fact used twice in this composition (and should have been black and red). These four small circles and the bird’s head should be seen as representing the entire Orion constellation, where the two lower circles stand for the two stars of the Belt and the head of the bird for its central star (black/red/black).

30Now, the central figure and the two felines are playing the same role in a grouping of three symmetrical elements, but for the entire composition whereas the two monkeys and the feline only achieve this for part of the picture. This time, the alternating chromatic code is reversed (red/black/red).

31It is now possible to assume that the reason why the constellation is represented twice is because both horizons are depicted on the same textile. The first portion of the sky starts at the bottom, reaching up to the arms and represents the eastern horizon to the zenith (rising trajectory); the second takes the top edge of the textile as the zenith and the axis formed by the arms as the western horizon (diving trajectory). This representation is based on direct horizon perception, which places each of them in front of the observer. The use of categories such as “rising” and “diving”, which can be deduced from the birds, is perfectly relevant with direct observation and compatible with a human representation, where the arms forming an axis refer to two different parts of the sky. The first part describes a rise that goes from the bottom upwards and can be expressed graphically by the lower part of a human figure (from feet to arms), and the second part goes from the top downwards and is expressed by the upper part of the human body.

The central figure as an anthropomorphised wasp

32One of the current questions regarding the variation in the representation of the male central figure on these textiles concerns the drawn headpieces. If just the face is taken into account, then it appears identical from one textile to the other: the same diamond-shaped eyes, the same toothy mouth, the same earrings with quadripartite division referring to the Orion constellation at zenith, the same red faces with black borders that appear as false heads on funerary bundles. The major variation appears on the upper head parts. On the Munich textile (figure 5), the head receives two triangular elements that are usually interpreted in other textiles as being feline-like “ears”. On the last textile (Figure 7), however, these triangular elements are missing. The head is adorned instead with a frontal bandage, on top of which five elements are shooting upwards whilst two segmented dragon-like serpents are shown branching out from the sides.

  • 18 Karadimas 2007.

33We already showed in another contribution18 that, on the Munich textile, the two triangular features on top of the head are in fact an anthropomorphic figuration of the mandibles of a wasp, but we can bring another example of this iconographical modality adopted by coastal artists into the discussion. On the following textile from the same tradition, actually in the American Museum of Natural History, a variation on the lateral elements shooting out of the head allows us to compare the pictographic composition with a wasp’s head (cf. Figure 8a). Not only the segmentation of the spirals is equivalent to the antennae of a Pompilid wasp, a species that, we have seen, feeds on spiders; the number of segments also corresponds to those of the natural exemplar. A more important deduction can be made from this parallel when viewing the anatomy of the wasp: the arms of the central figure, usually represented upraised correspond to the articulated forelegs of the hymenoptera that adopt this position, and the feline “ears” of this central figure are an anthropomorphic figurative translation of the wasp’s mandibles.

Figure 8a & b – Central character of the Chimu pantheon depicted as a being with segmented double spirals on top of the head and at its feet (a: Chimu, Peru, AD 900-1470, AMNH B.7777) and b: South American Pompilid wasp with equally segmented antennas

D. Karadimas

34If we summarise the different features of the central figure on the various textiles as iconographic translations of the parasitic wasp figure, it is possible to show how the manner of representation evolved from a naturalistic figuration of a wasp to an anthropomorphic construction of a mythological character as an enigmatic composite.

Figure 9 – Creation of the “Staff-God“ character by artificially recombining some features of the central figure found on funerary textiles

Photocomposition by the author © D. Karadimas

35The crenate forelegs are a graphical means of portraying the hairy and spiny parts of the insect’s leg. The snake head at the end is a graphical portrayal of the two terminal claws, which generate the image of snakes’ fangs. When the wasp on the first Middle Horizon textile (figure 2) is turned upside down, anthropomorphised, they become “arms” and the other pair of legs are graphically translated into a kind of “serpent-like belt”, also crenate as on the Munich textile (figure 5). Another mouth is added to form the anthropomorphic character and the abdomen of the wasp with its sting takes the appearance of a human phallus.

Figure 10a & b – Naturalistic figuration of the wasp placed on top of masks and anthropomorphic costume with wooden phallus representing the mythological character of the wasp in the same peach-palm ritual of the contemporary Indians of the Caquetá-Apaporis region of Colombia

a & b: Collection of the Author D. K.

Photo by Philippe Blanchot

36The variation between every studied textile gives a complementary indication of the mythological understanding, seemingly fundamental to pre-Columbian societies, of the relationships the Moon, the Sun and Orion have with one another. They linked them to their personifications - the naturalistic parasitic wasp, the anthropomorphised wasp, monkeys, felines and centipedes. This duality of representation also occurs at the peach-palm ritual executed by the Miraña, Yukuna and Makuna of the Caquetá-Apaporis rivers of south Colombia, which commemorates the human acquisition of the fruit taken from the animals. In this ritual, the parasitic wasp is sometimes presented in its naturalistic aspect as a small sculpture made out of light wood, painted with pitch and white and yellow mineral-pigmented colours similar to the masks (figure 10a). This naturalist portrait does not exclude the complete anthropomorphic costume with an important phallus that represents the abdomen and the sting of the hymenopter (figure 10b). Under this guise, the mythological character is comparable with the different personifications adopted by the iconic modalities found on pre-Columbian funerary textiles.

Figure 11a & b – Painted textiles presenting the anthropomorphised wasp with monkeys and star elements (Middle Horizon 3, north-central coast AD 900-1100, 11a: Private collection, and 11b: arteprimitivo.com/n° 409-110894, Published: "Alt-Peru: Landesmuseum Münster. Die Sammlung Kemper". Kat. 15. 1972. Ancient Peruvian Art, London, 1970s. Arts Council Exhibition. Arts Council. Exhibition, London, Ancient Peruvian Art, 1962 – ex. coll. Kemper)

37The central character of the Middle Horizon textiles on figure 11, which, in the second one (figure 11b), looks like the “Staff-God”, presents an anthropomorphised and deified parasitic wasp with segmented antennae, phallus and a tumi on top of its head (serving as a figuration of the wasp’s tongue between the mandibles). In one case (figure 11a), this central figure is surrounded by the representation of four starry elements that reveal the star-identity of the monkeys in other Andean civilizations.

  • 19 González Holguín ([1608] 1989: 84.

38Lastly, the stepped triangles that appear uniformly at the bottom, in the corners or inside the textiles, are an additional iconographical element that should be brought into the discussion. In historical times, Quechua called this form chacana, which refers to a bridge, stairs or ladder (which allows the passing from one level or edge to the other). According to González Holguín, the Quechuan name chacana also refers to Orion’s Belt and is, probably, an interpretation of its three stars and their diagonal alignment as “stairs”19. This perception of Orion’s Belt as stairs is also a graphical way to link this constellation with the post-mortem journey, when the deceased person has to “pass” through the underworld before reappearing in the night sky as an anonymous star –reminiscent of the beheaded moon transformed into a bunch of peach-palm fruit and brought back to earth by his son, the Sun, in the form of a fruit stone (the stones representing the « bones » of the fruits).

39We now have to turn our attention to iconographic forms present in textiles that are slightly different from the precedent examples.

A Nazca-Wari central figure and its descendant

Figure 12 – Probable Nazca-Wari style tapestry (south coast) representing an anthropomorphised wasp-figure flanked by four night-monkeys’ heads with a smaller character (Museo Nacional de Arqueología Antropología e Historia del Perú, n° 1235).

40In this Nazca-Wari style tapestry from the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú, (figure 12), we recognised themes, common also to the funerary painted cotton textiles from the north-central coast. In this woven textile, the central figure is presented with all the features necessary to refer to the solar/wasp mythology: stepped motives near his head, four night-monkey faces placed around him symmetrically, visible antennae and mandibles, in this case given to a small face positioned on top of his head, spear throwers as staffs, upraised arms and, finally, a phallus.

  • 20 This process can also be seen as a model in the contemporary Bolivian Diablada of Oruro (cf. Karadi (...)

41At this point, we want to emphasise an important variation in comparison with other textiles. In this exemplar, an additional figure appears in front or inside the central character. Smaller than the main character, it has assumed the same pose as the major figure, apparently though without the toothed mouth. If we apply an ethnological lecture of this image enriched by Northwest mythology, then this smaller figure has to be interpreted as the creature of this male major figure. To understand why the Wasp-God and his larval offspring are linked to funerary practices, it is necessary to focus on how parasitoid behaviour is understood by the Amerindians of the Northwest Amazon. To be reborn as an immortal entity, it is necessary to do so either at the cost of another being (the victim), by assuming the role of the victim, thus enabling the creation of a new entity, or, lastly, through transformation into a new entity20. This is done by taking the parasitic wasp and its prey as a model, in which the paralysed insect (the victim) plays a vital role in the wasp’s reproduction.

42In the mythological cycle of the local Vaupesian belief system, the central characters in the narration – Uarli, Kuwai, Yurupari, all the same religious figure – receive a larva from a large wasp just before undergoing a metamorphosis. Some of these wasps continue to feed their offspring by bringing them fresh prey. This happens in a “Stone house”, which is a metaphorical formulation for the cells build out of mud by parasitic wasps where they lay their eggs on paralysed prey. The mythological implication of this behaviour is that the hero of the myth, also the central religious figure, is to be identified with a wasp-larva that nurtures on paralysed prey. When the hero “went down again” to the feast given in his honour, he comes down buzzing loudly, having completed his metamorphosis.

  • 21 Goldman 2004, p. 203.

“He thought that he might get Komí to come down again. But Komí was now afraid. Aínyehinkü therefore sent a wasp [uchíkü] to the sky to fetch him. Uchíkü brought Komí an offering of tree larvae [arí ava] and was pleased. Having eaten it, he looked down at the earth with satisfaction and saw they were blowing büküpwanwa [yurupari flutes] to bring him down.21

43When applied to post-mortem construction, the dead body of a person appears as the paralysed victim, from which he will emerge as a new entity, as the wasp emerges from the paralysed prey. This especially explains why a person that is still alive can be regarded, at least in the Northwest Amazon, as dead. Death is seen more as being a process than a moment. But the important point is that the notion of changing skin has to be adopted to understand which identity is exactly linked to the creation of a new entity.

44The post-mortem creation of a deity relies on an understanding of the continuing existence of a person, passing from human to god, but with the obligation to adopt a new appearance, as if somebody is changing skin or shedding his old skin. In this transformational process, the human form is lost to a predatory act that creates a new deistic and immortal form.

  • 22 Karadimas 2007.

45This same process acts as a model in the ritual creation of the male status, the passing from adolescence to adulthood. The adolescent must « die » so he can become an adult. The parallel is brought to the cosmological level where the human is seen as an incomplete caterpillar or chrysalis form (adolescent) and the Wasp-God coming out of him as an achieved form (adulthood in the ritual). In the Northwest Amazon, the parallel is also made with the image of a chrysalis that is invaded by a wasp that “incubates” in the Lepidoptera metamorphic form (the chrysalis) by eating the internal part of it, the butterfly22. If we now imagine the mummified body of the deceased person being the wasp’s offspring resting inside of the victim, then the funeral bundle adorned with his false head or a mask becomes a ritual way of creating a visual image of this victim as a chrysalis. In the funerary process, the human person, the victim, becomes the offspring of a predator, the bundle and false head serving as an incubator for this new entity. Later, this will be the chrysalis from which it must emerge.

Figure 13a & b – Wari funerary bundle with false head or mask, performing the role of the victim from which the mummified dead person is to emerge as an immortal God-like entity - much the same as the parasitic wasp’s reproduction process. (https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File: Fardo_Wari.jpg). Ichneumon wasp hatching out of a Sphinx chrysalis

Photo G. Chauvin on http://aramel.free.fr/​INSECTES14ter-3.shtml

46The Nazca-Wari tapestry of figure 12 is, therefore, another way of presenting the two agents necessary in this process. The wasp’s offspring, the larva, is anthropomorphised, being the agent of the transformation that the deceased person will undergo. The afterlife is based on the same model that exists on the cosmological level when the Sun/Moon is reborn after going through a journey in the underworld. This underworld transition is where the deceased must lose its fleshy body, or at least dry it out as in mummification, similar to insects that are seen as living skeletons. It is also this cosmological interpretation that explains why the same images appear on the funerary bundle markers and the painted textiles, namely the four monkeys and the stars (Orion) apparently linked to the central figure, the anthropomorphised wasp.

Figure 14a & b – Funerary bundle marker with anthropomorphised Wasp-God and Orion star-monkey iconography and graphic reconstruction of the scheme (a: central coast, late Middle Horizon-early Late Intermediate Period, Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú, n° 0058; b).

Drawing by the author © D. Karadimas

Conclusion

47By making a comparative study between contemporary Lowlands mythologies and their cosmological implications, it appears that the central character of coastal cultures is an anthropomorphised wasp. The multiple ways in which the different iconographic traditions from the coast – between the Middle Horizon to the late pre-Hispanic period – have chosen to represent this figure can be linked to which features of the wasp these traditions elected to render in its anthropomorphic equivalent. When it is linked with monkeys/spiders or margays/centipedes, it refers to a mythology describing astronomical events where either the Sun or the Moon is in rivalry with the Orion constellation at each horizon. This scene explains the presence of stars or starry elements on the painted textiles, making reference to these astronomical episodes.

48At the same time, the entire mythological episode also constitutes a religious reference in the construction of a human person’s afterlife. To accede to immortality, the person must transform into a god-like entity, the transformation itself modelled on the parasitic methods of the wasp’s reproductive process. The funerary bundles with their false heads or masks are therefore to be understood as an anthropomorphised chrysalis – or victim – from which the person transformed into a god, the wasp, will emerge, the metamorphosis completed.

49It is, therefore, not only the ritual that creates the finality of the object, and the iconography present is not just an ornamental way of individualising an artefact, as the major current trend in iconic analysis tends to advocate. The painted or woven scenes are illustrations of religious origin linked to the creation of a god-like status for the deceased person that refers to mythological narrations. The diversity of pre-Columbian cultures that share the same religious modality –something we have revealed in this article with the help of comparison between actual mythology and past iconographical material – allows us to be categorical on the continuity of a major mythological episode that has maintained itself through centuries in the coastal cultures and in the Lowlands where it is still alive today.

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Bibliographie

Åhrem Kay, Luis Cayón, Gladys Angulo and Maximiliano García (dir.), Etnografía Makuna. Tradiciones, relatos y saberes de la Gente de Agua, Bogotá-Göteborg, ICANH – Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 2004.

Aveni, Anthony F. and Gary Urton, Ethnoastronomy and Archaeoastronomy in the American Tropics, New York, N.Y.: New York Academy of Sciences, series title: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 385, 1982.

Belting, Hans, Pour une anthropologie des images, Paris : Gallimard (coll. « Le Temps des Images »), 2004.

Cummins, Tom and Bruce Mannheim, “The river around us, the stream within us: The traces of the sun and Inka kinetics”, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, vol. 59/60 (spring/autumn 2011), p. 5-21.

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Dwyer, E. B. and Dwyer, J. P., “The Paracas Cemeteries: Mortuary Patterns in a Peruvian South Coastal Tradition”, in E. P. Benson (dir.), Death and the Afterlife in Pre-Columbian America, Washington, D. C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library Collections, 1975, p. 145-161.

Gell, Alfred, Art and agency, an anthropological theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Goldman, Irving, Cubeo Hehenewa Religious Thought: Metaphysics of a Northwestern Amazonian People, edited by Peter J. Wilson, New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.

González Holguín, D. [1608], Vocabulario de la Lengua General de Todo el Perú Llamada Lengua Qquichua o del Inka. Lima : Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, 1989.

Karadimas, Dimitri, « La constellation des quatre singes. Interprétation ethnoarchéologique des motifs de ‘El Carchi-Capulí’ (Colombie, Équateur) ». Journal de la Société des Américanistes, vol. 85, 1999, p. 115-145.

Karadimas, Dimitri, « Le masque de la raie. étude ethno-astronomique de l’iconographie d’un masque rituel miraña » in L’Homme, vol. 165 (numéro « Image et Anthropologie »), 2003, p. 173-204.

Karadimas, Dimitri, « Dans le corps de mon ennemi. L'hôte parasité chez les insectes comme un modèle de reproduction chez les Miraña d'Amazonie colombienne », in E. Motte-Florac and J. Thomas (dir.), Les "insectes" dans la tradition orale, Peeters Selaf, vol. 407, Paris, 2003b, p. 487-506.

Karadimas, Dimitri, « Yurupari ou les figures du diable : le quiproquo des regards croisés », Gradhiva, vol. 6 nouvelle série, 2007, p. 45-58.

Karadimas, Dimitri, « Historia de diablos, Mitos de avispas. Acercamiento iconográfico a una unificación regional », in François Correa Rubio, Jean-Pierre Chaumeil and Roberto Pineda Camacho (dir.), El Aliento de la memoria. Antropología e historia en la Amazonia andina, Bogotá : Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Facultad de Ciencias Humanas, Departamento de Antropología, Sede Amazonia, CNRS, IFEA, 2012, p. 68-86.

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Notes

1 As in the Lowlands where a person is often buried wrapped in his hammock.

2 Karadimas 1999.

3 Karadimas 2014.

4 Karadimas 2007, 2012.

5 See Århem et al. 2004.

6 The kinkajou, Potos flavus, is a small arboreal nocturnal mammal from the Procyonidae family and is the personification of Venus in Miraña tradition.

7 Aotus trivirgatus: the name for the nocturnal monkey, Temumu, is also used for house spiders from the Heteropoda family: in the Miraña tradition, monkeys and spiders are the personification of the four stars of the Orion constellation when they fall to the west.

8 For a detailed ethno-astronomical analysis, see Karadimas 1999, 2003, 2005a & b.

9 Karadimas 1999, 2000-2001, 2003.

10 Karadimas 2003.

11 Karadimas 1999, 2000-2001, 2014.

12 Karadimas 2007. I wish to acknowledge the help provided by Ann Rowe in the dating of some of the textiles presented in the study.

13 see also Karadimas 2003b.

14 Karadimas 2007.

15 Schindler 2000-2001: 69.

16 Spix 1823.

17 cf. supra: Karadimas 2014.

18 Karadimas 2007.

19 González Holguín ([1608] 1989: 84.

20 This process can also be seen as a model in the contemporary Bolivian Diablada of Oruro (cf. Karadimas 2015)

21 Goldman 2004, p. 203.

22 Karadimas 2007.

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Table des illustrations

Légende Figure 1: iconographical presentation of the genealogy of the characters of the Miraña myth of the origin of the peach-palm and their astronomical counterparts
Crédits Composition by the author, © D. Karadimas
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 536k
Légende Figure 2 – Painted Textile, (Peru, north-central coast, Middle Horizon 3, AD 900-1000, 117 x 66 cm) drawing D. Karadimas after Rochford & Messick Fine Arts, 2005.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 1,2M
Légende Figure 3 – Inca Jar, Late Horizon AD 1450-1550. Ceramic, H. : 24.5 cm, Rafael Larco Museum, Lima. ML013788, and a Spider wasp
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 860k
Légende Figure 4 – Inca style anthropomorphic jar showing spider-wasps and spiders (Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin, n° V A 19362).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 428k
Légende Figure 5 – Painted textile, Peru, north-central coast, Middle Horizon 3, AD 900-1100, N.M. 297, 132 x 114 cm. Ethnographisches Museum, München, in Schindler 2000: 171).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,6M
Légende Figure 6 – illustration of a possible « monkey-feline » or « feline-monkey» appellation, thanks to a combined figuration of the two animals that give the species its name (a: Fragment of a late pre-Hispanic textile, 88.9 x 41.9 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n° 1979.206.395, http://www.metmuseum.org/​collection/​the-collection-online/​search/​312616
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-6.png
Fichier image/png, 5,0M
Légende Figure 7 – painted textile, Middle Horizon 3, north-central coast, AD 900-1100 (unknown collection: http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/​chancay/​chancay-textile-7.jpg ).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,5M
Légende Figure 8a & b – Central character of the Chimu pantheon depicted as a being with segmented double spirals on top of the head and at its feet (a: Chimu, Peru, AD 900-1470, AMNH B.7777) and b: South American Pompilid wasp with equally segmented antennas
Crédits D. Karadimas
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,3M
Légende Figure 9 – Creation of the “Staff-God“ character by artificially recombining some features of the central figure found on funerary textiles
Crédits Photocomposition by the author © D. Karadimas
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 152k
Légende Figure 10a & b – Naturalistic figuration of the wasp placed on top of masks and anthropomorphic costume with wooden phallus representing the mythological character of the wasp in the same peach-palm ritual of the contemporary Indians of the Caquetá-Apaporis region of Colombia
Crédits a & b: Collection of the Author D. K.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 376k
Légende Figure 11a & b – Painted textiles presenting the anthropomorphised wasp with monkeys and star elements (Middle Horizon 3, north-central coast AD 900-1100, 11a: Private collection, and 11b: arteprimitivo.com/n° 409-110894, Published: "Alt-Peru: Landesmuseum Münster. Die Sammlung Kemper". Kat. 15. 1972. Ancient Peruvian Art, London, 1970s. Arts Council Exhibition. Arts Council. Exhibition, London, Ancient Peruvian Art, 1962 – ex. coll. Kemper)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,1M
Légende Figure 12 – Probable Nazca-Wari style tapestry (south coast) representing an anthropomorphised wasp-figure flanked by four night-monkeys’ heads with a smaller character (Museo Nacional de Arqueología Antropología e Historia del Perú, n° 1235).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,0M
Légende Figure 13a & b – Wari funerary bundle with false head or mask, performing the role of the victim from which the mummified dead person is to emerge as an immortal God-like entity - much the same as the parasitic wasp’s reproduction process. (https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File: Fardo_Wari.jpg). Ichneumon wasp hatching out of a Sphinx chrysalis
Crédits Photo G. Chauvin on http://aramel.free.fr/​INSECTES14ter-3.shtml
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 508k
Légende Figure 14a & b – Funerary bundle marker with anthropomorphised Wasp-God and Orion star-monkey iconography and graphic reconstruction of the scheme (a: central coast, late Middle Horizon-early Late Intermediate Period, Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú, n° 0058; b).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69281/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 637k
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Référence électronique

Dimitri Karadimas, « Monkeys, Wasps and Gods: Graphic perspectives on Middle Horizon and later pre-Hispanic painted funerary textiles from the Peruvian coast », Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos [En ligne], Colloques, mis en ligne le 07 juillet 2016, consulté le 25 mai 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/69281 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/nuevomundo.69281

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Auteur

Dimitri Karadimas

Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale

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